A Wall Street Journal article called “The Wizards of Buzz” focuses on the power of the top users on Digg, Netscape and other “social bookmarking” sites. The article highlights 16 or so of these users, along with their real name, screen name, areas of interest and other information. The point of the article, I think, is to show how much power these individuals have, and how they are dealing with offers to take payment for promotion, etc. Sample quotes:
For 17-year-old Henry Wang, the job of finding compelling information for Digg’s 20 million monthly users starts when tennis practice ends. Mr. Wang, a senior at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Ill., says he spends three hours a day doing his Digg work, and highlighted his success on the site — at one point, he was ranked the No. 2 user — on his college applications.
On Reddit, one of the most influential users is 12-year-old Adam Fuhrer…When Microsoft launched its Vista operating system this year, he submitted stories that discussed its security flaws and price tag, which attracted approving votes from more than 500 users…In spite of a content filter his parents use to block him from viewing certain sites (including YouTube), he has managed to consistently make it onto the list of Reddit’s highest performers. “I watch my son’s page while I’m at work,” says his father, Gerald Fuhrer, and “gush about his achievements to my co-workers.”
For readers familiar with Digg and the others, the article won’t tell them anything they didn’t already know. For those unfamiliar, they may be left somewhat confused by the whole crazy ecosystem, and the fact that twelve year olds are now helping to define what “news” is. Interesting times we live in.