What George Orwell Can Teach Us About Digg

In George Orwell’s legendary political satire, Animal Farm (aff) the story is portrayed that the farmhouse animals band together under the leadership of Snowball and Napoleon, the pigs, who become dangerously socialistic George Orwellin their approach to leadership on the farm. In a typical way, the pigs win the animals trust and allegiance by establishing a Constitution of sorts declaring, among other things, that “No animal shall kill any other animal” and “All animals are equal”.

Soon however, as the intoxication of power takes over, the deceptive nature of the pigs begin to infiltrate the farm house. As the story goes, the rules begin to be changed by the pigs to justify their own actions. Where once the rule read, “No animal shall kill any other animal”, it now read, “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.” The most ironic rule change came when “All animals are created equal” conveniently became “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.

George Orwell in his amazing wisdom spoke of political mindsets that had begun to overtake, not only Russia around the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, but of society and mankind itself. Without becoming too political, America too has more than just traces of Orwellian reason to it.

And this is exactly the thread that is at work at Digg. As a service, the democratic approach was refreshing and many people went along. To this day, many go along but there are hints of dissension in the ranks. The Digg Mob, also known as the Bury Brigade because of their instinctive nature to bury everything they don’t like simply because they don’t like it, wield their power in an obsessive, mean-spirited way. They lead their peers based on dedication to Digg (aka, they Digg a lot of stories, spend a lot of time, probably know Kevin Rose personally, etc). They are the respected leaders and with their recommendations (Diggs and Burys), they control the democratic process.

This is not democracy. This is totalitarianism. Like Napolean and Snowball, and eventually Squealer, the brigade has taken a good principle available to anyone who wishes to use the service and twisted it to their own agendas and with it gained power on which, now, they are drunk on.

This must change.

As mentioned yesterday, I don’t care if I ever get on the front page of Digg again. I don’t particularly care if any of my stories are Dugg. If you want to do me a favor, add my stories to del.icio.us. Or make my blog a favorite of yours in Technorati. Or link to a story of mine and tell the world – your world, your audience – your take on something I’ve written. Don’t ask me to Digg your stories. I won’t do it. No offense, I just won’t use Digg. Maybe I’ll do you a favor and del.icio.us you myself. Or add you to Reddit. My point is there are alternatives.

The armor is cracking. The grip is loosening. No need for us to continue to be Lemmings looking to Digg for cheap traffic, cheap thrills and cheap attention. Let’s can it and go after something worthwhile – something we can affect and shape without relying on someone else like the pigs to do it for us.

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