Let’s face it: the Internet can be a big, scary place, so it makes sense that people seek digital communities where they can congregate with like-minded users to discuss the stuff they care about. Online communities like Reddit and Tumblr frequently develop their own lingo, inside jokes and topics du jour, but these “insidery” snippets often stay confined to the communities from which they sprout. Until now, that is. A new online venture, The Daily Dot, is seeking to bring a voice and platform to the stories for and about online communities.
“The Daily Dot gives a voice to the Web’s communities,” reads the site’s About page. “We report on the most important and relevant topics from within, applying tried-and-true principles drawn from community journalism to the growing cultures of the Internet, and allow our audience to read the Dot across multiple platforms, where they live, online.”
Want to know the story behind a popular Reddit post? Want an explanation of why a video is getting so many hits on YouTube? The Daily Dot is your place. The site takes trending topics from online communities like Reddit, YouTube, Tumblr and Etsy and churns out reported stories penned by writers active in those communities. Current features include an explainer on the controversy surrounding a charitable subreddit, as well a wordcloud demonstrating the most often tweeted words during the recent East Coast quake.
Another interesting aspect of the site is its “Leaderboard,” a feature designed to “present rich data that tell a story about Web communities’ most influential contributors.” The Leaderboard algorithm functions much like Google’s, and celebrates important community talkers while incentivizing participation within a community.
Former Valleywag editor Owen Thomas is at the helm of The Daily Dot, and we’re excited to see the kind of content this new site will produce. As Mashable notes, going niche has worked for companies before, and by targeting sites with so many users, The Daily Dot already has a built-in audience. Covering online communities like digital neighborhoods is a neat idea, but The Daily Dot will require the full support of the communities it reports on to really gain traction.
What do you think of The Daily Dot?