Memetrackers revisited

Now, you know I love TechMeme. Last week I interviewed Kevin Burton, who does Tailrank, so I’ve been giving that a much better looking at than I’ve done recently. Yesterday Megite updated too, so I looked into that.

All three of these are interesting ways to see what the blogosphere is talking about. But, I notice I keep going back to TechMeme, and I think I found the reason why:

More info density per scroll.

But there’s an even better reason: no spam on TechMeme. Yes, it’s elitist, yes, it tracks only a small number of blogs compared to TailRank and Megite (TechMeme tracks a few thousand compared to about 150,000 for TailRank, according to Burton — TechMeme expands daily depending on linking behavior, though, so it’s hard to figure out just how many blogs are being tracked), but the quality on TechMeme is much higher overall, I find.

Here, visit TailRank for the post about Mike Arrington. Can you spot the splogger? Hint, it’s naikmichel, which copies all my content.

But, to me, TechMeme seems to have better choices for its top stories and less scrolling to see more stories. I’m getting to like TailRank, though, it’s definitely coming on strong and is much better than last time I looked at it.

25 thoughts on “Memetrackers revisited

  1. I can’t believe Gabe doesn’t stick his hand in. But that’s part of the mystique of it. He says he doesn’t, but I continue to wonder.

    After another look, I also find TechMeme’s design much more usable and easier to read than Tailrank’s, Megite’s or BuzzFeed’s. It has a clear hierarchy and less visual clutter.

    I also like that TechMeme follows some basic usability conventions. Megite is also good for usability, Tailrank isn’t bad, but BuzzFeed sucks for usability.

    TechMeme’s archive feature is great, too. I hardly ever use it, but it has been useful when I’ve had to. The others don’t do archiving very well.

    Megite has one thing TechMeme does not and that’s a reasonable business/investing section, which is really my other main interest. But it’s still far from a TechMeme for general business/finance news.

  2. I can’t believe Gabe doesn’t stick his hand in. But that’s part of the mystique of it. He says he doesn’t, but I continue to wonder.

    After another look, I also find TechMeme’s design much more usable and easier to read than Tailrank’s, Megite’s or BuzzFeed’s. It has a clear hierarchy and less visual clutter.

    I also like that TechMeme follows some basic usability conventions. Megite is also good for usability, Tailrank isn’t bad, but BuzzFeed sucks for usability.

    TechMeme’s archive feature is great, too. I hardly ever use it, but it has been useful when I’ve had to. The others don’t do archiving very well.

    Megite has one thing TechMeme does not and that’s a reasonable business/investing section, which is really my other main interest. But it’s still far from a TechMeme for general business/finance news.

  3. Dominic: I get that sense sometimes too, but Gabe says it’s his algorithms doing the work. I agree with you, though. By removing noise TechMeme is better. And, yes, that’s elitist. But, oh well.

  4. Dominic: I get that sense sometimes too, but Gabe says it’s his algorithms doing the work. I agree with you, though. By removing noise TechMeme is better. And, yes, that’s elitist. But, oh well.

  5. Astute observation about the info density, and the quality of the bloggers. Both make TechMeme worth your time.

    If I’m being completely honest as a reader rather than as a blogger I have to admit that I love TechMeme. This is simply because it’s always interesting to me whereas the other meme trackers and every other media source are less interesting. It’s like have a front page of a newspaper with only things that interest you on it.

    Not sure about this, but I get the sense sometimes that Gabe jumps in and moves stuff around based on his own likes and dislikes. Like this morning when Mike’s post about the Nick and Jason fisticuffs suddenly jumped to the lead item. If I’m right about this type of intervention by Gabe, then he is one helluva editor because his instincts about what interests his audience are bang on most of the time.

    There are some dull days for sure and I’m interested in maybe half of what’s shown, and often it’s the stuff near the bottom that I like the most. But overall, I’ll go to TechMeme before any other news source. OK, that’s enough loving from me.

  6. Astute observation about the info density, and the quality of the bloggers. Both make TechMeme worth your time.

    If I’m being completely honest as a reader rather than as a blogger I have to admit that I love TechMeme. This is simply because it’s always interesting to me whereas the other meme trackers and every other media source are less interesting. It’s like have a front page of a newspaper with only things that interest you on it.

    Not sure about this, but I get the sense sometimes that Gabe jumps in and moves stuff around based on his own likes and dislikes. Like this morning when Mike’s post about the Nick and Jason fisticuffs suddenly jumped to the lead item. If I’m right about this type of intervention by Gabe, then he is one helluva editor because his instincts about what interests his audience are bang on most of the time.

    There are some dull days for sure and I’m interested in maybe half of what’s shown, and often it’s the stuff near the bottom that I like the most. But overall, I’ll go to TechMeme before any other news source. OK, that’s enough loving from me.

  7. Scoble: That’s true regarding the discovery of a parallel tech blogger concentration. Not sure how the dynamics of disparate but related clusters works, but I bet a huge time-evolving link graph of sets of bloggers would make for some really pretty eye candy. :-)

  8. Scoble: That’s true regarding the discovery of a parallel tech blogger concentration. Not sure how the dynamics of disparate but related clusters works, but I bet a huge time-evolving link graph of sets of bloggers would make for some really pretty eye candy. :-)

  9. Bosko: oh, that’s absolutely true!

    As to other attention clusters, yup, that’s true, but if there really is a TECH attention cluster that’s good it’ll be discovered by someone in this attention cluster and then all bets are off.

    At minimum it’ll get on Digg (good Digg stuff gets on TechMeme anyway) and Digg is sending about 20 times the traffic of TechMeme anyway.

  10. Bosko: oh, that’s absolutely true!

    As to other attention clusters, yup, that’s true, but if there really is a TECH attention cluster that’s good it’ll be discovered by someone in this attention cluster and then all bets are off.

    At minimum it’ll get on Digg (good Digg stuff gets on TechMeme anyway) and Digg is sending about 20 times the traffic of TechMeme anyway.

  11. Scoble: I agree with what you said about linking to me, but I don’t think you heard me out. My point was that TechMeme links to people who link among themselves and these people link because they also read each other (and so respond to each other). TechMeme seems to select memes out of a list of crawled feeds and that list is constantly updated, influenced by the feeds that were in it previously. This means that for me to STAY in the list, I have to be continuously grabbing your (or some other list member’s) attention. For me to be continuously grabbing your (or some other list member’s) attention, you need to be reading me; so I’d very likely be in your newsreader.

    So then consider all the people in the list on Techmeme right _now_ and consider their RSS subscriptions. They likely allocate continuous attention to each other.

    And this is all fine, really, and I’m not ragging on TechMeme because all it does is highlight this localized attention cluster, and it happens to be of some high profile web people, and that’s great for traffic (for Gabe). That was my point. In fact I’m sure Gabe knows this; just consider his other web properties (focusing on attention clustering in the baseball fan + blogging subculture, as well as attention clustering in the tabloid + blogging subculture). There is a pattern of success here: he finds niches/accumulations of attention and builds a meme finder for them. Brilliant, no doubt.

    What I was getting at is that there are lots of other attention clusters in the blogosphere, some smaller than others, and TechMeme is not likely (I think) to repeatedly highlight those. That’s what makes it _Tech_Meme, after all.

  12. Scoble: I agree with what you said about linking to me, but I don’t think you heard me out. My point was that TechMeme links to people who link among themselves and these people link because they also read each other (and so respond to each other). TechMeme seems to select memes out of a list of crawled feeds and that list is constantly updated, influenced by the feeds that were in it previously. This means that for me to STAY in the list, I have to be continuously grabbing your (or some other list member’s) attention. For me to be continuously grabbing your (or some other list member’s) attention, you need to be reading me; so I’d very likely be in your newsreader.

    So then consider all the people in the list on Techmeme right _now_ and consider their RSS subscriptions. They likely allocate continuous attention to each other.

    And this is all fine, really, and I’m not ragging on TechMeme because all it does is highlight this localized attention cluster, and it happens to be of some high profile web people, and that’s great for traffic (for Gabe). That was my point. In fact I’m sure Gabe knows this; just consider his other web properties (focusing on attention clustering in the baseball fan + blogging subculture, as well as attention clustering in the tabloid + blogging subculture). There is a pattern of success here: he finds niches/accumulations of attention and builds a meme finder for them. Brilliant, no doubt.

    What I was getting at is that there are lots of other attention clusters in the blogosphere, some smaller than others, and TechMeme is not likely (I think) to repeatedly highlight those. That’s what makes it _Tech_Meme, after all.

  13. Bosko: not true. If I linked to you, and a few other people linked to you, you’d get added to the seed list for the day.

    The thing I like about TechMeme is it keeps noise out. If I want to track the long tail about something I go to a blog search engine where I can see everyone like Technorati or Google Blog Search.

  14. Bosko: not true. If I linked to you, and a few other people linked to you, you’d get added to the seed list for the day.

    The thing I like about TechMeme is it keeps noise out. If I want to track the long tail about something I go to a blog search engine where I can see everyone like Technorati or Google Blog Search.

  15. I think TechMeme is really a selective memetracker optimized for page hits. And that’s fine because presumably this is what Gabe wants.

    I see TailRank as a better platform for doing meme tracking in a general sense because it allows you to influence the seeding, and allowing that is really key for people like myself who care.

    But for the remainder (~80%?), TechMeme is good enough. It’s good enough because the only person influencing how it’s seeded (and what pops up at the front) is Gabe, and the people who get linked to are more often than not a closed-link community. I’d be curious to see the reading list/opml of every blogger linked to by TechMeme, intersect them all, and look at the resulting list of blogs. I bet they’re pretty close to the blogs seeding techmeme.

  16. I think TechMeme is really a selective memetracker optimized for page hits. And that’s fine because presumably this is what Gabe wants.

    I see TailRank as a better platform for doing meme tracking in a general sense because it allows you to influence the seeding, and allowing that is really key for people like myself who care.

    But for the remainder (~80%?), TechMeme is good enough. It’s good enough because the only person influencing how it’s seeded (and what pops up at the front) is Gabe, and the people who get linked to are more often than not a closed-link community. I’d be curious to see the reading list/opml of every blogger linked to by TechMeme, intersect them all, and look at the resulting list of blogs. I bet they’re pretty close to the blogs seeding techmeme.

  17. What about reddit.com, digg.com, and so many others. I like popurls.com myself because it gets most of the others. Now, if popurls would just add techmeme, I’d only have one place to go.

  18. What about reddit.com, digg.com, and so many others. I like popurls.com myself because it gets most of the others. Now, if popurls would just add techmeme, I’d only have one place to go.

Comments are closed.