Sharing multiple digests could be kinja’s killer app. “…it’s not the fact that I can create my own little version of Haddock Blogs [digests] that’s interesting, it’s the fact that I can chuck it around to all my friends. I can link to it like this and – if I wanted to – I could stick it at the end of my blogroll so that other people could play with it too. I could e-mail it to someone, or IM it or even just tell someone my user name and have them go and find it.”
It’s too bad that so far Kinja has not very well communicated just what it is. Their communication to date has been based primarily around an issue that they have not in any way proven – that weblogs pose some sort of technical problem for non-technical users. But as Coates suggests, that whole issue is secondary and not particularly interesting.
What’s interesting about Kinja is not having a digest you can read yourself; it’s having a digest – and hopefully many digests – you can share with others. This is why its non-aggregator status is critical – to successfully share content in digest form, the applicatation can’t discriminate between sites that do or do not use any particular flavour of syndication.
Other things flow from this as well, in particular in terms of copyright. If I don’t syndicate my site (implicitly giving permission to copy that text for reading in another context), anyone scraping my site is guilty of a breach of my copyright. By providing excerpts and links to the original in the context of a digest, however, Kinja is likely in the clear in that the choice of digest items is itself a critique or commentary, and so the excerpts clearly become fair use.
In terms of the communications/marketing around Kinja – which has been vague and seems to miss the point – it looks like Kinja might have fallen into a classic trap of web development. It seems that the interesting and difficult technical problem they solved in building the site was mistaken or substituted for its raison d’être.