Digg's 8 million 'social freeloaders'

Digg’s masses are passive readers of other’s “Diggs,


According to Digg CEO Jay Adelson, “The point of Digg is to capture the interests of the Internet masses and use that interest to help organize the huge amounts of information on the Web." Digg’s masses, however, are passive readers of other’s “Diggs,” rather than active contributors to a Digg “collective wisdom.”

Digg reportedly attracted 8.5 million visitors in May, but only has 304,000 registered users, submitting, on average, about 2000 stories a day. As I point out in “Social freeloaders: Is there a collective wisdom and can the Web obtain it?,” the Social Web that is purported to be harnessing a “collective wisdom” of millions, is merely reflecting the opinions of a small number of self-selected active contributors:

Wikipedia’s “small core community” that does the vast majority of the work reflects the extremely low ratio of contributing users to non-contributing users throughout the new social Web that relies on user contributions for its content.

The average YouTube user is watching the content, not generating it, for while more than 35 million videos are viewed daily, only 35,000 are uploaded” and at Riya photo search, searchers outnumber the uploaders, 20 to 1.

Perhaps the social Web will come to be known for its freeloaders, rather than its uploaders.

A user-contribution reality-check is undoubtedly in order. As it stands now, Internet users are being honored for a "collective wisdom" which has not been harnassed, and Social Web properties are preparing to "sell" access to the non-existent "collective wisdom":

If you want to know what...the mass public care about today, I can know within seconds, versus waiting for the publication cycle to happen so you can look at your subscription data or Nielsen ratings, Adelson said.

Also see Digg: 'newspaper of the Web', or its gossip column? and Monetizing you and your friends: The Social Web seeks social brand dollars