Here’s a good exploration of the complementary species that make up the Digg ecosystem [via my son’s dugg links]. It shows how news organizations need to look at themselves — as ecosystems, rather than as manufactured products.
There are five groups of people who make digg.com what it is.
There are the readers: an educated guess would be that probably ten to twenty percent of those ever click ‘digg’, they are mostly just there for the end product of the digg machine: an array of interesting news and links often presented before the other news sources.
There are the diggers: some percentage of the readers, probably ten to twenty percent. They bother to vote for the stories on digg.com, which changes the numbers next to the stories and enables stories to get to another queue – the diggnation podcast.
Then there are the 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.
An even smaller subset of users are the submitters: people who post fresh stories. It’s difficult to post a fresh story to digg at this point, it’s a competition for who can submit it first.
Finally there are the news publishers themselves, often bloggers who want to get readership for their content.
What’s really interesting about these groups is that each of them is required for the system to function, they all came together relatively quickly, and each of them have different and complementary rewards for what they do.
If a newspaper truly handed control of itself over to its community — Digg-like or Craig-like — then a similar society could emerge: reporters, on staff and off; contributors; creators; alerters; readers-now-kn0wn-as-editors…..