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Pencil Drop (The end of Digg as we know it?)

So, the latest bit of civil disobedience from the seventh grade is the pencil drop (nothing new). Word goes out that at exactly 2:04, everyone drops their pencil.

Teachers hate this.

Coordination turns random events into noticeable events.

I'm on record as being a huge fan of Reddit and Digg and the other social bookmarking sites. I'm still a big fan. But I wonder about the self-inflicted damage of their success.

Now that they are so powerful (the front page is worth hundreds of thousands of impressions, for free, in one day, among some of the most influential people online) people are starting to notice.

They're noticing by encouraging their fans to post in a coordinated way.

Sometimes they do this in ways that most of us would consider ethical (hey, please Digg this post if you think it's worthwhile) while others are hiring clickfarms in India to do it for them. The leverage is just so great, it's irresistible (in some categories, just a few hundred Diggs is enough to work your way up to the top).

As this gaming approach catches on, I have no doubt that the social networking sites will do a pretty good job of stopping the spammers. But they can't (and shouldn't) stop the semi-organic ones, the good blog posts where the blogger asked for the Digg and made it easy, right?

So the market will adjust and the good will still win.

Except it won't. It won't because the truly good, the overlooked, the stuff that is built by someone who doesn't know how to IM the top Diggers, doesn't want to pay a bribe or even know how to put in links to the sites--those pages can't possibly compete with the coordinated pencil drop. So they disappear.

I'm fully expecting that sometime quite soon, the front door won't be open quite so wide... that it won't be so easy to get a dubious page into the clickstream. The idea of social bookmarking isn't going to go away, I think, but it can't help but evolve.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Pencil Drop (The end of Digg as we know it?):

» Are we digg-ing too deep? from kiss2
According to Seth: the ‘smartest’ (read cheating) bloggers are finding more and more ways to end up in the Digg top, which means that the real jewels and gems of bloggers who blog out of ‘the love for it’ will [Read More]

» The demise of Digg is near? from Unrumor the rumors
Seth Godin asserted the demise of Digg and Reddit and other social bookmarking sites. I\'m on record as being a huge fan of Reddit and Digg and the other social bookmarking sites. I\'m still a big fan. But I wonder about the self-inf... [Read More]

» Re: The Pencil Drop. Have pencil, need money. from Techy Castle
How could an essentially empty site with placeholder logo and no real content be added as a top entry to delicious? Take a quick look at the first tags and comments and tell me whether or not this could just as well be performed as a text-book Pencil... [Read More]

» Is social media losing it's innocence? from Greg Verdino's Marketing Blog
Earlier this week Seth Godin wrote about recent efforts by companies or individuals to get their links to rise to the top of the Digg most popular lists. A potential issue to be sure, and one that is bound to force some changes in how social bookmarkin... [Read More]

» Digging Deeper into the Social News Scene from Mark McGranaghan
Seth Godin’s recent blog post about the uncertain future of social news, “Pencil Drop (The end of Digg as we know it?)”, climbed all the way to the top of reddit yesterday.  In his post, Seth wonders about “the self-inflicted damage” that th... [Read More]

» Digg and Power from Recognize Design :: Design, Marketing and Beyond
After a recent debate over whether or not its right to add ones own content to Digg, which I absolutely support (because it allows you to adjust the keywords for search terms instead of having some random stranger do it), I found a bit i... [Read More]

» The Weakness of Digg from Russell Page
Seth Godin explains something about Digg that I have been feeling for some time, but he does it better than I could have. Digg has a big weakness that undermines its credibility. Pencil Drop (The end of Digg as we know it?) ... [Read More]

» How to Take Advantage of Digg from Don Loper
Getting a link from Digg's homepage can mean tens or even hundreds of thousands of people visiting your website. A public relations consultant can get 100 or 1,000 times the normal value of a press release if they can somehow get it on Digg's homepage,... [Read More]

» How will Social Bookmarking sites evolve? from Blogopreneur
Seth Godin recently commented about the end of Digg, because many marketers are abusing the system to get traffic to their site. Sometimes they do this in ways that most of us would consider ethical (hey, please Digg this post if you think its... [Read More]

» authenticity, time, and keeping youredge from All For You
Jory muses about Rocky and how he got less authentic with each additional movie. That we could relate to the Rocky of the first film, the guy fighting for love, but that the other movies became less and less relevant to the audience. Cory Doctorow wrot... [Read More]

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