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Digg Life: How Social Media Will Change the World

Digg Life: How Social Media Will Change the World
News

    With a very simple concept, Digg.com has changed the fundamental nature of the news media and how millions of people access information. Digg (and its fellow social media sites) democratized the media, and wrenched control of what gets read from the gatekeepers of print and broadcast corporations and gave it to the people. Now, argue about whether this is good or bad, but it’s now a fact of life.

    And someday soon this concept will spread to just about every area of our lives, from politics to entertainment to business to … you name it.

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    Get ready for the democratization of everything, like it or not.

    What Digg Did

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    Digg

      Before we can see how the concept of social media will spread to other areas of life, let’s take a look at what has happened, and why it’s so important.

      In the days before Digg and friends, how did we access news? Through newspapers, magazines, radio and television. And who decided what news there was to access? Editors, and their bosses, publishers and corporations. To some extent — the extent that we still access new through traditional media — this still happens. A small few controls the gates of information to the masses.

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      But then social media came along, just within the last few years, and the gates broke open. Now, the traditional media still covers the news … but now many, many people don’t read or watch the stories through the traditional media outlets. They go to Digg, and see what’s hot. If there’s a story that sounds interesting, we click on the link and read or watch it.

      And who decides what’s hot? The masses. And what’s more, it’s no longer the traditional media stories that are hot. Everyday writers, the bloggers and You Tube masters of the world, can be just as popular as the Dan Rathers and Tom Brokaws. Getting information to the masses depends on how good you are, not who you know.

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      Digg story

        How Our Lives Will Become Dugg
        Corporate media is not the only area of life where a small few control the gates of information for the masses — it happens everywhere. The powerful concept of social media will break open those gates — maybe not today or tomorrow, but eventually. It’s inevitable, as once someone decides to offer a Digg-like site for other areas of life, people will undoubtedly want to be in control of their information, and would never give it back to the gatekeepers.

        What areas of life will be affected? Here are just a few examples:

        • Music: Controlled right now by corporate production companies and distributors, and fed to us by radio stations and music television (MTV, et. al.), music is already becoming freer through peer-to-peer networks. Though the legal battles will continue for years, because of the huge amount of money involved, it is impossible to catch and prosecute every person who downloads music. The business structure of the music industry is already changing, and will eventually change completely. But who will decide what music is popular? The masses, through a Digg-like social interface. And it will be open to all musicians, not just ones with record deals.
        • Movies: Also controlled by corporate production and distribution systems, movies are already becoming socialized through sites like You Tube. Soon DVDs will become obsolete as entire movies become distributed through You Tube-like sites, and the popularity of movies becomes Digg-like. And as more filmmakers turn to self-publishing on the Internet, just as writers do on blogs, it will no longer require a production and distribution company will millions of dollars to make a successful film.
        • TV shows: Same as movies.
        • Politics: But our government is already democratized, right? Sure. We elect officials every two or four years, but who votes on each individual proposal? The gatekeepers. A Digg.gov site will allow the masses to decide on issues, rather than having politicians do it for us. And those who are afraid of the masses deciding on issues are not truly in favor of a democratic government.
        • Marketplace: Who controls what clothes are available to us? Clothing companies and department stores. Social media can change that — imagine a digital marketplace where you can go to see what clothes are hot. What about cars? Restaurants? Gadgets? Books? As you can probably tell, these things are already starting to happen with sites like Amazon and eBay.
        • Work: Who controls what work we do and how we get paid? Traditionally, the corporations and managers — the gatekeepers of decisions and money and information. But what if your work was run by a Digg-like site? Where business decisions, project decisions, pay and benefits and workplace environment decisions, were all made by the masses of the company? That’s hard to imagine in traditional companies. But consider that these days, many people are working remotely, as free-lancers or consultant or telecommuters. If work becomes less centralized, and more spread out and free (as in free-lance, not free beer), why does a central person or group of people need to control all decisions? If a group of free-lancers begins to democratize their work, this idea could have much more appeal than the traditional corporate structure … and once people have their work under their own control, they are less likely to want to go back under the control of the gatekeepers.

        These changes, again, won’t happen overnight. But the winds of change are already obviously blowing in this direction, and once people get a taste of freedom, they aren’t likely to want to stay under the control of a few.

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        The Gentle Art of Saying No

        The Gentle Art of Saying No

        No!

        It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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        But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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        What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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        But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

        1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
        2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
        3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
        4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
        5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
        6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
        7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
        8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
        9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
        10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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