Too Much and Not Enough  ·  Vintage Greene

A Hint of Immodesty

Lately I’ve seen more and more of these Digg / buttons cropping up, and I’m not really sure I approve.

That’s not to say I disapprove of either site as such: I use a fair bit to mark things of interest for future reference. I can not only save links which would clutter my bookmarks menu (and be vulnerable to a local system failure), but I can also see who else has bookmarked them—and what they’ve bookmarked that I might be interested in.

However, I draw the line at putting a set of buttons on every article I write encouraging people to add it to Digg or There’s an arrogance implicit in it that I find distasteful: it seems to say that everything the author writes is so good it deserves to be promoted by you, the reader.

To reiterate: there’s nothing wrong, as I see it, with promoting others’ work. That’s a large part of what the web is about: point other people to stuff you’ve enjoyed or found useful. There is, however, a large distinction between someone adding one of your articles to Digg or, and you actively seeking out and promoting that end.

One could of course argue that it’s simply about user convenience: it makes it easier for readers to promote your work on one of these sites. After all, clicking the link is an entirely voluntary act; no one makes them do it.

But this is an obfuscatory argument. It’s not that much work to Digg something, and even has a Firefox extension to make the process easier. The degree to which these buttons make the task of the user easier is minimal: their main effect is psychological.

Ultimately, the point of these buttons is to make it psychologically easier for users to add someone’s work to one of these sites. They present an option that may not have occurred to the reader, and bring it to prominence in the minds of those who already see it as a possibility. Moreover, they don’t simply present the option: they promote it.

14 responses

I tried to click the buttons to add this article to my out of irony, but it didn’t work!

I agree, though. It’s blatant self-marketing, much like a blogger leaving comment on someone else’s blog suggesting someone read their post - linked, of course - on the same subject.

I agree if the writer wants a person to digg it this bad why dont they just sumbit their post with the bookmarking service themselves.

What about people who include quick links to sites like Bloglines, Rojo, or other RSS readers? Is this the same to you? Feedburner does this for example - a service you support. I think it really only seems like blatant self-marketing because we’ve become hyper aware of the digg effect and the delicious popular list. At it’s very basic, it’s a helpful tool for users of popular bookmarking services. I just find that it adds so much clutter and that ultimately, sites that hit digg or delicious popular do so without ever needing to have those links on their site.

Jonathan, I think that’s almost the point — it’s way too intrusive. Feedburner’s links are added to the newsfeed (small, and at the very end), not the actual website itself. At least to me, a newsfeed is a utility, a tool, and so adding more tools to it doesn’t seem as forward as huge aqua buttons staring you in the face as you read the article

I’m just thankful that he showcased some of the best looking Digg and buttons of the bunch when making fun of them. :)

As for the Firefox extension you mentioned, I hate installing extensions and having to relaunch Firefox to activate them. And what if we are Safari, Galeon, Konqueror, and Epiphany users? Personally, I prefer websites having these buttons that allow me to quickly add it to my bookmark services.

That said, I see where you are coming from when you say it is a sign of a weeeebit arrogance. But my question to you is, in this cluttered world of blogosphere, how are little new blogs going to make its name known without having to do some self-promotions? Just look at the comments left here, we already have two uber-popular people having a say on this matter.

Bryan: Oh, now there is a definite sign of immodesty there, sir! xP

Someone reads Avalonstar, I see. ;-)

Tom, there are a half-dozen bookmarklets for that work in just about any respectable browser with javascript support. I’d imagine digg has the same sort of thing. There’s no reason to relaunch your browser.

eric: Why bother? I’m a visitor of somebody’s website. I don’t need to bring in toilet paper to use their bathroom.

Tom, I’d say these sorts of links are more like posting a sign in your bathroom saying “VISITORS: PLEASE FEED THE GOLDFISH!”

I don’t want to sound annoying (again), but I really don’t see anything wrong with self-promotion.

An average article for me is seen by a few hundred people and read by even fewer. If I write an article that I think is helpful, I do submit it to digg to try to reach more and (as corny as this sounds) _help_ more people. My most recent article that reached the front page has been seen over 18,000 times and has been bookmarked by almost 800 people (and I don’t include a link).

My point is that if it’s helpful, go for it.

Damn self-promoting diggers!

If I ever promote myself or my highly interesting blog, you can shoot me.

Jokes apart, thats an interesting observation, Benedict. Slashdot doesn’t have’s freedom, but it doesn’t have the problem of sticking to its standards. Anarchy or Dictatorship?

PS: Visit my blog pleez…! ( :D

PPS: Just Kidding… (not really, no…)

I am with the others that are begging and pleading for readers to tag my site. The problem boils down to the fact that my writing is rubbish and begging readers to dig(g) me is my only alternative.

I also very ocassionally post my posts to digg (2 posts so far :)). See, there are people like me who have some free time to go through digg find out interesting blogs and add them to my blog reader so that I can keep track of their blog posts. And there are some like Robert Scoble who are celebrities who dont have to tell the world that they write. Somehow, people in the same field fish out blogs like his. But, for an average blogger like me who blogs personal stuff mostly, the readship is very few. I even wonder if anybody reads my blog posts. And I dont care.

Sometimes, I write stuff on common interests which I would like to shout out so that I can get other’s opinion on it. And sometimes, I write out stuff like tutorials or code snippets which I would like to share with others. In both cases, unless I advertise it, no living soul will come to know about it till the article and the subject is completely stale.

I do agree that copying content from the net and posting them in one’s own blog and then submitting the story to Digg or any other service like that is bad. But, if the blogger has genuine stuff, how would others know about it if he/she doesnt speak out?