Days of Lore

Kevin Rose: Digg that tea!

Kevin Rose: Digg that tea!

“It was a great time,” Lore said. Sometimes a long weekend is just the thing to recharge the batteries … but a long weekend at a journalism conference? Come on! Nut graphs and leads? Attributions and AP style? Headlines and captions? I’m getting all hot and bothered just thinking about it: hot + bothered = hot and bothered.

Of course, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ West Conference is much sexier than that. A few of us trekked to San Francisco last week to be inspired, learn a little something and, of course, get all hobnobby with other journalists from all over the Western United States. But it wasn’t all nose-to-the-grindstone …

Are you a dirty bird? I won’t bore you all with a bunch of journo-nerd-speak (though I do love it) … I’ll instead bore you with a few of the other things I took from the weekend in abbreviated list form:

1) Writers are pretentious. I know this because I’m better than most of them (not really) and they seem to think the same.

2) One Dirty Bird*: good. Two Dirty Birds: pushing it. Two Dirty Birds and a shot of Fernet: big trouble in little China.

3) Sacto pop duo Hardy Harr! and S.F. songstress Ash Reiter make beautiful music.

4) Fish ’n’ chips: good. Deep-fried mushrooms: pushing it. Fish ’n’ chips, deep-fried mushrooms, followed by Denny’s onion rings at 3 a.m.: big trouble in little China.

5) Nerding it up at journalism conferences is great fun.

*One shot of Wild Turkey served with an ice-cold bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Digg it! Truth be told, when I read that the speaker at this year’s conference was some guy named Kevin Rose, I thought, “Come again?”

Well I’ll be damned: The 29-year-old Rose (who bears a striking resemblance to Jason Schwartzman) is the creator of, currently sandwiched between and IMDb as the 19th most visited site in the United States (and one of the top 100 sites worldwide).

For those who aren’t familiar, Digg is a social network of sorts where users essentially choose the content by submitting news articles, videos and podcasts from online sources around the world. The more hits—or in this case “diggs”—a story receives, the better chance it has to move to the front page, where millions of viewers can read it daily.

For example, “Woman gives birth, wakes up without arms or legs” is the highest-ranked story (10,119 diggs as of 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and growing by the minute). At the other end of the spectrum, my column last week, where I wrote about penises and vaginas and boxes, is holding strong at six diggs. Ya dig?

And like other social networking sites, users are able to create profiles where they can share articles with their “friends,” and also have the option of “burying” stories they don’t like.

Rose was well-spoken and seemed quite modest despite the fact he was featured on the cover of BusinessWeek in August. After hearing his presentation, the whole concept seemed so genius, yet so logical—Rose assembled a dream-team of tech folk (he currently has a staff of 15), and it doesn’t cost him a dime for the actual content. And there are no copyright issues because the story links go directly to the source.

That’s why Kevin Rose is in San Francisco, probably living out some sort of crazy rock-’n’-roll lifestyle with all the coke and hookers he could possibly want, while I’m in Chico feverishly writing new content for his Web site for a paltry six diggs a week … sheesh. Maybe I’ve smooched enough ass here to pull in a dozen?

Robbing the family jewels One of my unidentifiable sources (hint: she’s really nerdy, has bangs and I like her a lot) recently informed me that the Gene Simmons Family Jewels Collectors Edition DVD set was available for five bucks. Not purposely, mind you; the set sells for $44.95. However, due to a technical glitch on the A&E Web site, the two-DVD set sold for five and change Jan. 26-28. It was the talk of bloggers all over, and the low price no doubt upped the sales. (I can see it now: “The box set went quadruple-platinum in two days,” Simmons said smugly as he banged out a pair of blondes against a KISS pinball machine in his $2.1 million mansion).

I see it as a little redemption for all of the broke, derelict KISS fans who’ve helped line Gene’s pockets over the last 30 years. However, ignoring their faux pas, the lame-asses at A&E have cancelled all of the $5.38 sales, instead offering the set for $29.95 to those who ordered it at the discounted price.