Can Digg be Used for Good?

When the Digg community mobilizes it can be one of the most powerful forces on the web. If a link gets lucky enough to be one of the chosen, and grace the presence of the front page, it will then bring along with it the "SuperDigg." Now, for the unprepared this is a travesty. The SuperDigg can easily bring any site to it's knees begging for mercy, wondering when the hits will stop, crying for it's Mommy. To the prepared however, it is one mass of the most beautiful hits they will ever see sweep through their site. Now, one has to think, can the SuperDigg be utilized for good? Can the hits that come crashing down like Godzilla on Japan be harnessed for the powers of good? This is the question three senior students at Purdue are asking in their Senior Project.

The group of students have found that when talking about Digg to people over the age of twelve ( around campus, the question "What is Digg?" always seems to come up. Knowing that this should never be the question when you know what kind of impact Digg has on the online community. They found that the question should be, "Who is Digg?" Who are the people that Dig? Where are they from? What do they like? The Purdue seniors knew that they had to answer these questions in order to address the Digg community and try to harness Digg for the power for good.

Surfing the web for a Digg census doesn't turn up on the U.S. Census Bureau site that often. Being Diggers themselves, the students turned to articles on Digg to help profile Diggers by Diggers. They found that Articles show users as everyday people who love a good top ten list, ridiculous photo, or an article about Digg itself. Most of the articles about Digg describes each member as part of an extremely popular site and a very net savvy group of people. Whenever the SuperDigg is described in detail the obvious statistic about extremely low conversion rates always hits you in the face like a wet fish.

Digg users are smart. They don't click on Google AdWords or your flashy Flash pop-up Ad Game. They know how the game is played. In fact, they probably have their own Google AdWords campaign set up to take money from you instead. Low conversion rates are the biggest problem for any site trying to get hits, but what if Diggers have such low conversion rates because they are not being called to action as a mass for a good cause? What if the Digg community could do something good for an individual that needs their help?

For their Senior project, the group of Purdue Students was approached by a local family who has a child in need. His name is Roberto and he has Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis (CIPA). He basically can not feel any pain or regulate his own body temperature. Diggers have probably heard about it from the article 8 Diseases that Give Superhuman Powers. This is where the students got the idea to use Digg in their research. They had already begun work on making a website for Roberto and saw that CIPA was being featured on a link from the front page. Diggers had already found the article with the disorder in it interesting enough to give it the SuperDigg. Why not see if the community can be utilized to actually learn about the disorder through Roberto and maybe even help him live a better life?

The students will be measuring if a SuperDigg is achieved, can the Digg community be mobilized for good and help Roberto. He needs any help Diggers can give. Doctors say by the age of 10 (He is now 5 yrs old) he will be wheel chair bound because of the everyday wear and tear he puts on his own body. He needs a pool so that he can exercise without hurting himself or overheating.

When the data comes in, we will hopefully see if Diggers come to help Roberto, learn about his disorder, and hopefully donate. If you think about the wave of hits a SuperDigg brings with it and the number of people they share sites with, even a $1 - $5 donation will amass to a huge amount of help for Roberto. If this happens, Roberto will have a pool in an extremely short amount of time and at very little cost to anybody who donates.

Of course, this all depends on the SuperDigg. So Digg away, and let's see if we can mobilize to help Roberto.

Check Roberto's Blog at for updates about the SuperDigg and Roberto's campaign. Go to to learn about Roberto and help him get his pool.

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