Digg this crazy Internet, dude!

Sometimes I start having sleepless night as the time to sit down and start writing this column draws ever closer.

I usually know what I’m going write several days in advance, but this time inspiration was stubbornly refusing to strike in spite of hours spent combing the Internet looking for something interesting.

Then, just in the nick of time, I remembered an e-mail sent in some time ago by Karen, to the effect that I should go off and look at the website www.digg.com.

On arriving at a new site, I always look for an explanation of what it’s about and I wasn’t that excited to see that Digg was ‘a user driven social content website’.

Luckily, for me and this column, it is actually very intriguing and a great place to go if you’re looking for news or to spend a few idle minutes browsing at random around the web.

Digg is a huge big melting pot of links to news, podcasts and videos housed elsewhere on the web, but which have been recommended by one or more site members as being worthy of note.

The way it works is that members can add a link from Digg to any item on the web and it joins the list of upcoming items. Other members can view the list and either vote in favour of, or digg, the item if they agree it is worthy, or vote to remove, or bury, it, if not.

Links which receive a certain number of diggs are promoted to a page listing the current most popular items and those which receive enough negative votes, are removed from the list.

That means that only the most interesting and informative items survive so, when you go to the site to look for the latest technology news, for example, you can be sure that the listed items have met with general approval.

Each link has a short description of what the item is about and, if you’re interested, you just click the link and get taken to the original website where it appears. Click the Back button, and you return to Digg, to see what else is listed there on your topic.

You can even see how many diggs an item has received, and who from. In time, I’m sure, you’d get to know people of similar tastes to yourself and be able to look them up and see what they have voted for and, hence, what you will probably enjoy as well.

One fascinating feature, known as Digg Spy, allows you to see you what’s happening on the site in realtime, as links are added and votes are cast one way or the other. Without it, for example, I would never have known there was such a thing as a stained glass computer case.

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