Computerworld has an interview with Jay Adelson, the CEO of Digg.com, one of the Web's most popular social media sites. Adelson was also a founder of Equinix, which operates data centers for network peering, and was asked about the parallels between the two companies. Adelson says the common thread is the disintermediation of incumbent technologies and companies:
(Digg) is similar to how Equinix (eliminated intermediaries) for telecom companies. When the Internet became a commercial medium in 1994, all of the Internet had been funded and operated by the government and universities. When it switched over to one operated by telecommunication companies, a very strong hierarchy developed. Tier 1 ISPs, the top five players in the world, would collect a dime on every packet that flowed throughout the Internet. Part of the reason was all the Internet networks had to interconnect with each other using these antiquated network access points operated by carriers. Equinix replaced these single, network-owned facilities with Internet business exchanges where anyone could exchange packets with anyone in a neutral playing field. This allowed the dot-coms like Yahoo and Google and others to really exert their might. Digg does a very similar thing to the media.
For more, including Adelson's thoughts about the recent "user rebellion" at Digg, read the entire interview.