Alex Bosworth has a great post investigating the dynamics of the digg.com system. He discovered that the system is "very simple" and made up of five groups of people:
1. Readers: Alex guesstimates that "ten to twenty percent of those ever click 'digg'". I'd love to know the actual figure though.
2. Diggers: 10-20% says Alex. He also says these are the least important members of the system, because "once a link is on the front page, it makes marginal difference the number of votes next to the link."
3. Hardcore Diggers: "people who sit in the queue of submitted stories and watch for breaking news that should make its way up to the front page, or report stories as being spam or irrelevant."
4. Submitters: people who submit stories. It's highly competitive and difficult to be the first to post a successful story (one that makes the front page).
5. Publishers: "often bloggers who want to get readership for their content."
What's interesting is how all 5 of these groups interact - and each gets their own reward - in order to make the Digg system work. As Alex concluded:
"Overall, with blog publishers creating content they want dugg, submitters scouring the net for stories they can add to their 'published on the homepage' list, digg queuer watchers looking for cool links before anyone else has seen them, and digg readers reaping the benefits and creating a powerful digg.com frontpage readership, digg has come a long way very quickly."
Plus because Digg now has so many users, the 'Network Effects' bring great rewards for the system operator (the owners of digg.com). I wonder if over time Digg will become susceptible to system gaming? For example it seems to me that the Hardcore Diggers is the group with the most power in the Digg system. Publishers have an interest in getting their stories dugg, so who better to court than the Hardcore Diggers. It's similar in a way to popular bloggers who get sent a bucketload of email by companies hoping to get a link.
Every system gets gamed, so will 2006 will be the year Hardcore Diggers find themselves the center of attention?