“The Digg Effect” refers to the massive amounts of traffic that Digg would send to the sites hosting it’s front page articles.
For those in the crowd, Digg is a social news aggregation site where articles are submitted and then the general populous “Diggs” them up or down. The algorithms are unknown and changing, but the general idea is that enough people Digg your stuff fast enough, you end up on the front page of Digg and thousands/millions of people visit the site in a short time.
This sudden increase in traffic often causes servers to crash when people visit sites that don’t have the architecture to support the huge quantity of requests. This is the Digg Effect.
I used to follow the technology category on Digg, but stopped after a few months, when I couldn’t stand the ridiculous (and often vulgar) comments left by Diggers when they would Digg up and down. There seemed to be a few intelligent voices in the crowd, but for the most part, it’s just stupid people saying even stupider things.
So I’ve started calling it the Real Digg Effect. The real effect is that the world fills up with anonymous comments made by people who didn’t think twice before typing and submitting. This is what Seth Godin referred to in a recent post called Monkeys With Megaphones. Seth’s point is valid, but it assumes that you’ve got the time to sift through all the trash. Do you have the time?