How Techmeme works

By May 19, 2008Content, News

Techmeme has recently become the site I most often check for news and gossip in the tech scene (particularly since I discovered the excellent Techmeme mini for mobile) – but it has always been a little unclear how it works. The following three excerpts from this post by Scoble give the best explanation I’ve seen so far. Square brackets added by me for clarity, and please forgive me the slight repetition, I think it is worth it for the extra insight.

TechMeme: requires multiple “votes” [i.e. links] by an elite [blog or other news source] to get on the page. Even a link from TechCrunch (which is the #1 “voter” on TechMeme) won’t get you onto Techmeme. You’ve gotta have something else to go with that link.

TechMeme: watches signaling from key members on Twitter and Google Reader. If enough people who are on the TechMeme Leaderboard Twitter and share an item on Google Reader you’ll see the item pulled onto the page.

Techmeme? Looks at Twitter and Google Reader for signaling mechanisms (what news is getting hot) but mostly considers blog posts and professional journalism that have gotten the attention of a limited number of “elite” bloggers/journalists. Techmeme gets news from sources
that aren’t always professionally run sites

The point of Scoble’s post is to talk about the difference between ‘noise’ and ‘news’. He wants to hear the ‘noise’ by which I think he means rumour, people describing what they are doing with new technologies, and other leading indicators of ‘news’ which he describes as events that impact lots of people.

My guess is that is because he is a journalist.

As a VC I want some exposure to noise, but I haven’t got time to process too much. That is why I like Techmeme more than Robert seems to – most of the noise is filtered out.

  • I think Techmeme has reduced its input sources over the years, just look at it say 3 years ago, there wasa wider variety – the risk you now get is that its giving the current incumbents a larger vote, which is (i) reducing its exposure to nuance and sub-streams but also (ii) a self reinforcing mechanism for current incumbents so makes it harder for fresh voices.

    Overall I agree though – I can’t deal with an unfiltered level of signal to noise ratio like aggregators such as Friendfeed put out.

  • I think Techmeme has reduced its input sources over the years, just look at it say 3 years ago, there wasa wider variety – the risk you now get is that its giving the current incumbents a larger vote, which is (i) reducing its exposure to nuance and sub-streams but also (ii) a self reinforcing mechanism for current incumbents so makes it harder for fresh voices.

    Overall I agree though – I can’t deal with an unfiltered level of signal to noise ratio like aggregators such as Friendfeed put out.