So, by the looks of things, Kevin Rose is stepping down, away, and from Digg.com and on to other endeavors. Several journalists have discussed he will be pushing some new startup of some kind. My thought is that he is looking for an entry into a larger opportunity of some kind; perhaps working with Google on something interrelated to the social web. After all, while Google are making a killing with search and advertising, one area they’ve yet to conquer is the realm of social media.
But this is besides the point. I’ve heard many people state that Kevin Rose leaving Digg is akin to rats leaping from a sinking ship. If you asked me months ago, during the Digg V 4 fiasco, if the site was a sinking ship, I may have agreed with you. But times have changed. Matt Williams jumped on board as CEO and reshaped Digg into a more agreeable and more functional Digg V 4 – it was something that hearkened back to the older days.
For years, in fact since the inception of Digg in 2004, the moniker “Kevin Rose” has become synonymous with “Digg”. People have evolved to the assumption that one cannot exist without the other – that his creation of the social news site formed a symbiotic relationship. They believe that if you get rid of one, the result will be similar to that of dividing by zero and ripping the fabric of space and time. The destruction of the universe is imminent, they would feel and believe.
This could not be further from the truth. In my view, the best thing for Digg at this point in time is for Kevin Rose to leave and move on. While he is responsible for the vision of the site’s beginnings and early directions, Digg is now an entirely different site than what it was in the early years. It has shifted and evolved. And some of this evolution has not been the best for Digg (version 4 and ridiculous bannings that began with my own, for example).
Rose’s scrutiny of the site is most likely still in a similar place to where he was in 2004 through to 2006. These were the big years of Digg, which saw its major rise. Since that time, the social news site has faced numerous concerns and controversies that have frustrated and angered the community. The changes have rarely been for the positive, which reinforces the concept and idea that Rose’s focus for Digg is not in line and in harmony with where the site and the community are evolving.
The social web has seen major changes since 2006. Twitter and Facebook have exploded, bringing forth a new concept to sharing content that until that time had not been imagined. MySpace came close to bringing this personalized content sharing, but lost their vision with what the site was becoming (a problem that newcomers Tumblr are now facing also). It will be interesting to see what begins to emerge as the next possible stage of evolution for the social web.
And perhaps that is what Rose is pursuing. He’s chasing the next evolutionary era of the web. He was successful in calling it with Early Digg in 2004, and was very nearly on the mark with Pownce (but Twitter won the microblogging war); perhaps he has a new vision for a new direction.
But just as Rose is moving forward with something different, Digg also needs to advance and grow without him. Without Rose, the team will bring in new blood and new ideas, allowing new generations of visionaries contribute to the direction Digg will go in.
This is the best thing that could transpire to the site. If Rose stays, Digg WILL plummet from the skies and go the way of GeoCities.
But without him, and a new team pushing Digg forward, there is still hope left for the social media site that has much work to do in restoring the faith and dedication of its community.
It’s possible that the Future Non-Rose Digg may become a much better site than ever before.
Time will tell…