September 2008: Diggnation Podcast

Diggnation isn’t, by strict definition, a podcast. It’s really an Internet show, based on stories from the social bookmarking site Digg.com. It just happens to have a downloadble, subscribable audio feed. And yes, you sometimes do get the sense, as a listener and not a viewer, that you are missing something by not seeing the occasional screenshot or bit of physical humor.

While Diggnation calls itself a tech-slash-web show, it’s not entirely focused on technology. Actually, to say that it’s focused on anything is a pretty generous statement. A mash-up of the McKenzie brothers’ “Great White North” cable access show sketch and Lars Frederiksen’s Rancid Radio program on XM radio — taking beer drinking from the first and casual, liberal cussing from the second — Diggnation bobs and weaves from open source software to small dogs to concept cars to the iPhone.

So how does Diggnation qualify for a technology podcast review? While Digg stories can be about anything from a Bob Costas interview of George Bush in Beijing, to RickRolling, the majority do focus on technology, the internet and tech-culture. I would say that Diggnation is a definite must for any Boing Boing, Kottke, StumbleUpon or Digg subscriber. If you love the random, the serendipitous and the accidental happenstance of the internet, Diggnation is definitely for you.

Each episode, hosted by Digg founder Kevin Rose and actor Alex Albrecht, begins with a hearty discussion of the beer of the week. Since the show now has over one hundred sixty episodes, you can imagine that the beers drunk and discussed these days have become eclectic and international.

While there is generally an agenda for each show, Kevin and Alex riff off of each other so frequently, expertly and thoroughly that any given show can find itself pointing off-topic so completely that the listener will be hard-pressed to remember the topic that spawned any of the conversations that followed.

The cable-access feel definitely rules this show, from its mediocre sound-quality to the “I’m just listening to a couple of guys talk” feel. But the quality is there in the substance of these improvised discussions — Kevin and Alex know their stuff and the listener comes away a little wiser and a lot more entertained. End of article

Jennifer Kelley
kelleyj [at] cod [dot] edu