and the Future of Web Software

For the first few months of our marriage, my wife Sara would ask me how I could possibly spend so much time surfing on the internet. Recently I found out this wasn’t a complaint, but an actual question about how to find good stuff to read on the web. I told her that I frequent sites like and to receive the latest news about technology, video games and STAR WARS! In other words, sites that would not interest Sara in the slightest.

The state of affairs continued until I found an article on Digg called “Top Five Reasons Why I Want Digg for Girls”. It basically outlined what I had thought when I had tried to introduce Sara to news aggregate sites. Most of them are sausage parties, populated by nerds who try to break the site for no other than a surplus of time on their hands. You’re unlikely to find articles about non-geeky arts and crafts, parenting or anything else relevant to women. Considering how much of the publishing sector is created by and for women, having web software like Digg and making it completely male oriented is like building a Saturn V Rocket and using it as a Christmas tree. It seemed like the author had pointed out ripe territory for revolution, but many commentors pointed out that the revolution had already happened at

Intrigued I headed down there and was taken by surprise by how nice the interface is. It’s just 9 self-explanatory categories, and you don’t even have to join to give a “kirtsy” since the site measures the click-through count, not just votes from registered users. What’s more, the users don’t seem to use misleading headlines like “Bike Seat Cuts Off the Nose to Save the Penis!” in order to garner votes.

Now, I’m still going to use sites like Digg and Fark for most of my link hunting needs, but it’s really nice to know that a site like this exists. For one thing, it proves that lines of code and a server don’t make a software package any more than a truckload of hamburger meat and a suitcase full of money makes a McDonald’s. It’s amazing that you can create a news aggregate site that functions like Digg and have it come off as being completely different. It’s a tribute to the human element in software design. And what does Sara think of Kirtsy? Let’s just say she curses my name now that she knows how to waste time on the internet!