March 27, 2006

Not knowing AJAX sucks - my hypothetical hacks to

I woke up this morning thinking about How sad is that?

I thought - wouldn't it be cool if instead of me seeing what everyone else sees - what if I saw just what I was interested in? And what if I didn't have to *tell* Digg what I was interested in - what if it just kind of knew. I mean, all my diggs are stored, and linked to me. Unbreakably linked to me, in fact. So much so *I* can't even undigg them. So why not use all that stuff you already know about me - and just show me what I like.

Then I had another idea. Why not link me to other people like me? Again, my digging pattern is archived and index - and so is every other digger's. Why not hook us up? This is a "social bookmarking" site - so let's get social. Sure I can add all the "friends" I want - but how do I make new friends?

And how about a chat or something - so it can get really social? - Okay, maybe not chat - but the other stuff makes sense, right?

So I GIMPShopped together a mockup of how it would look. Not many changes to the interface (not trying to mess with perfection). What you're looking at is the "personalized home page" - as it says there. These are stories that digg found that I might like.

Of course - they are all about me. Which most good stories are. (My buddy God once told me that it's not megalomania if the universe really does revolve around you.)

There can be several ways to get these stories. The first and default way is based on your digg history. In this example, I obviously dugg a lot of stories with the term "Chad" in them. But let's say someone is really into building his own TiVo. Well then, the digg servers would notice whenever someone puts up a story in the software or hardware section with the terms: pvr, dvr, htpc, mythtv, knoppmyth, TiVo, HDTV, media center, or set-top box - he diggs it. So on his personalized home page - he'd get nothing but pvr stories. He could easily see all the front page diggs by clicking that link - or all diggs - by clicking on that.

Another way to add stories to your personalized home would be through making a list of key words to look for. Let's say our example pvr guy wanted to digg anything about the Hauppauge video capture cards -but so far, none of the stories he dugg had that word in the title, the link, or the description. Well, he could add it to his "watch list" and the next time that term shows up - he'll know.

I could see quite a bit of customization to this as well. Like determining how many diggs something has to get before you see it on your homepage, or selecting the categories you want to see. Maybe our friend has all the hardware he wants, or can afford, so now he wants to focus on software. Click that check-box and your all set.

Also, maybe one of your friends sees a story he really thinks you'd like. He could flag it for you, so it would show up on your personalized home as well. You could turn that friend's flagging feature on or off, or block particular diggers from doing that - or make it only your friends can do it - or something. Lots of customization there as well.

I know none of these ideas are particularly original. I mean the "Diggers like you" thing is done in StumbleUpon. The personalized home, or "stories you might like" thing is done on So is the friends sending you stuff thing. But, Digg itself was pretty much a new version of Slashdot without the editors. There's also the possibility that some of these features are already available, and I just don't know about them. Or they don't work exactly like I'm suggesting, but close. But I just wanted to share them.

If I could code Ajax, I'd make a working mashup or something. But I can't. So I won't.
What do you think?

People complaining about how other people choose to use Digg sucks. here's a page for people who can't get into a Mega Man Hack site.

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