It’s an epic battle, one that may fundamentally alter how news sources online are filtered and delivered to the general public. At stake are the fortunes of thousands of newspapers and millions of blogs. You may have never heard of the players in this game. They are obscure and obsessive but their incredible influence is impossible to deny. For the hardcore internet technologists slugging this one out in the trenches, clear ideological and political lines have been drawn. The users of Digg.com trend toward the socially conservative and practice grassroots community activism. Reddit.com, the upstart in this fight, is a haphazard mess of anarchism and subversive liberal propaganda. This is the war for the future of “social news” in America and you should be paying attention.
Social news is akin to the “social networking” that you find on Myspace and Facebook. What makes those sites so popular is that they have come to dominate the online lives of many people. Users check in frequently throughout the day, share thoughts and photography, hopes and fears. As more and more do this, broad discussions develop, virtual communities of like-minded folk find each other and ideologies are formed. In turn, these sites have the power to create political movements and consumer crazes. As even Vanity Fair magazine recognized recently, Governor Sarah Palin has taken intelligent advantage of this trend, growing her Facebook fanbase into two million people who log in to her daily and actively support the candidates she Twitters about.
What Reddit and Digg offer is a bit more basic. They are news websites where users submit stories written by journalists and bloggers and vote on the efficacy of them. There is room for commentary and at times this can be lively. When links receive many votes and make it to the front pages of these sites, they drive an enormous amount of web traffic in one direction and, as a result, increase the advertising revenue for that particular news organizations. The stories these people discuss even have the potential to become major issues of the day, reported on live television and debated in the halls of Congress. Why this is important is that Reddit and Digg represent two very different political philosophies and social goals. There are undercurrents of both Tea Party Patriotism and “crowd sourcing” anti-Christian anarchy happening in our midst. In essence, this is ground zero for some of the worst atheistic propaganda in the country, a place where morality is regularly censored in favor of drug use, homosexual activism and liberal conspiracy theories.
Reddit is quite simply one of the most crudely designed websites on the internet. Its interface is so mundane and uninventive, one has to wonder if its creators are more interested in the saucy topics they talk about (drugs, sex addiction) than actual technological programming. There is no fancy dressing to doll up this hideous looking creature, nothing to mask the dank odor that emanates from this site, an odor not unlike that of a deep yellow haze of marijuana smoke (a drug, incidentally, that most Reddit users celebrate endlessly in their replies and upvoting). As you click deeper and deeper into that site, it’s as if that drug smoke is choking you. You’ve passed through Alice’s Looking Glass into a fantasy land, some bad hallucination where homosexual “marriage,” sodomy and a tv show called The Guild all seem like appropriate topics for social conversation. The debates that follow are crude and swift, childishly simple and yet recklessly cruel. Yes, this basic design belies a content so radical that most normal Americans would be shocked and profoundly ashamed. It is the beehive of a fully anarchist socialist attack on family values and traditional society. (Weirdly enough, the sick enterprise is owned by ladies fashion magazine “Glamour.”)
Sadly, children who have been left alone in their school computer labs or rec room basements are clicking on this site and encountering some of the most dangerous community organizers and liberal propaganda makers in the country. The upvoting and downvoting system encourages the young to be sycophants, begging for the approval of their elders, lured off to garbage-strewn highway underpasses where they trade a family’s morality for a few thumbs up and maybe a line of sarcastic praise. It’s gut wrenching to know that every day America’s most hopeful are forced into contact with the seediest elements of the underground movement. And the moderators are the worst of it, selecting only slimy and outrageous pieces of news to promote and censoring anything that has the slightest sense of Patriotic morality. One can only imagine the wretched places these moderators are logging in from, whether they’re prisoners taking a break from violating their cellmates or failed intellectuals, your future Ted Kaczynskis, who sleep their days away on urine-soaked couches and spend their nights fighting over pizza crusts with domineering cats as they seek out the latest blog update on Christopher Hitchens.
For me, Digg has always represented a very positive and helpful look at America. It’s like a beautiful lawn where the fresh sprouts of freedom and patriotism burst above the surface every day. Sure, there are times when gossip stories get more play than they deserve, but the users are solid citizens and promote the strength of the family in our culture. Items that make it to the front page are often from the most legitimate of news organizations. And when politics is on the table, you hear the honest and heartfelt indignation of many that this country is slipping too readily into dangerous policies and economic decline. As the Tea Party and conservative Christian groups turn to more grassroots activism, it’s places like Digg that are a priceless resource.
On top of all this, the design of Digg.com is truly impressive. They include graphics and photos to make the user experience top notch. There is a great royal blue color throughout, which in its subtle way underscores the idea of solidity and Americana with the effect of reminding some of us older users of a Navy Captain in uniform, standing on the deck of a cruiser, surveying that vast seascape of peril we all face. The waves crashing, the water boiling, and yet we are standing tall and firm with the ideals of family and faith beneath us.
It would be shortsighted in an article such as this to avoid mentioning a small controversy that recently arose on Digg. Some users collectively joined hands to vote and discuss stories that were of interest to the conservative community. On a website separate from Digg, members would notify each other of particular news items that they were passionate about. From there, the group would go to Digg and vote positively on these pieces, propelling them higher up the link chain and bringing greater attention to compelling issues. Sadly, the whole thing was blown out of proportion and now the site has restricted new members and user submissions. As a former member of that group myself, I will say that we were expressing our love and faith as an organized community, exactly as is done with voting in a political election. This was fair and frankly a great example of democracy in action. It was wrong and weak that Digg could be forced by liberal elements to delete accounts and otherwise censor the free speech of its regular, loyal users. Had the liberals thought of this idea, no one would have bothered to even report on it.
As the battle of Digg and Reddit continues, it is vital that Christian-Americans do their part and register for these sites. Get involved and vote your conscience. Think of it like going to the polls every day! There are far too many significant controversies in our culture that need to be addressed and your clicks result in advertising dollars that will keep our friends in the conservative movement in business. You also educate yourself, your friends and family by sharing in these vibrant communities. Also remember that young people are the future and it’s especially important when monitoring children’s internet usage that you direct your kids on the right path– the path of promise, faith and wholesome web surfing!