If Digg were truly a democratic system, it wouldn’t matter who Dugg your story, just so long as it got into the system — then democracy would work its magic. But the fact is that it does matter who Diggs you. I just noticed that my last post was Dugg, but then I saw it was submitted by a user who has never had a story reach the Digg homepage despite having submitted over 20 stories to Digg.

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None of the stories that Stephen Harlow has submitted to Digg has every received more than 9 diggs. This may be in part a function of Stephen’s story selection, which appears not to have interested the Digg community, but it is also likely a function of his lack of friends.

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Without friends, nobody knows or cares when Stephen Harlow submits a story to Digg, and friends voting for friends’ stories probably drives a fair amount of digging on Digg.

The lesson here is, as with everything else, it’s all about who know. Digg, to its credit, is fundamentally social. The success of Digg users in getting stories to the homepage presents as a long tail in no small part because of the power of Digg’s social network, and the ability of top diggers to work the network.

The bottom line in this instances is that, while I’m grateful to Stephen Harlow for digging my post, and while there’s nothing preventing it from being Stephen’s first homepage story, I’m left thinking that I probably would have been better off with a more connected and successful Digg benefactor.