One has to wonder sometimes what exactly goes through the minds of some smart people. One minute they can be saying completely intelligible things that have us in awe of their lucid thoughts and the next they sound like they couldn’t connect the dots if their lives depended on it. Sometimes the disconnect is so painfully obvious that you just sit there scratching your head and wondering WTF were they thinking of. Other times you stop for a second and think maybe – just maybe they are having fun with you and forgot to smirk or something before realizing that no they really have made absolutely no sense whatsoever.
A case in point is a conversation that was started yesterday on FriendFeed by Dave Winer where he decided it was time once again to revitalized the same old Techmeme bitchmeme – well it was the weekend after all so what else is there to do eh. Anyway his opening salvo to get everything started was this gem
“Ever notice how new products almost never make it on TechMeme these days. They don’t even appear. This is loop back to why I started blogging. The industry press was ignoring the interesting stuff and only paying attention to what the BigCos were doing. Time for a new route-around coming soon?”
Which was followed shortly afterwards with this mish mash of words
I don’t feel a need to reinvent the web inside of FF. However it is part of what I do, in the same way Twitter is. I like FF better, but only marginally better. It’s very far from the ideal. None of these guys have managed to combine all the elements the way plain old HTML does it so well. It’s nice in some ways but a big step backward in others
When I read the second one I had to stop for a minute and double check exactly what the starting point of this conversation was because this was something that looked like it had staggered in from left field like a bad drunk. Besides the fact that it had absolutely nothing to do with the supposed conversation at hand it didn’t even make sense as a standalone piece of text. Well maybe it did in a Steve Gillmor on TechCrunch sort of way but not here that is for sure.
Even when Louis Gray pointed out that Techmeme did indeed show representation to startups if they were good enough; or bad enough, to garner attention from the blogosphere Dave couldn’t resist showing his me-ism again.
Dave: I disagree to a point. If you look at Techmeme stories from my blog in May and June alone, you can see stories on Loud3r, Feedly, Disqus, Sezwho, FFToGo, and Shyftr, for example. It could be that Techmeme is accurately monitoring the most discussed blogs, and that the vast majority of these blogs are talking less about new products.
Louis — that’s kind of the point — those products didn’t launch well, and with no slight to you — I haven’t heard of them because I depend on TechMeme to tell me what’s important in the tech world. TechMeme does what it does well, but it has some real limits and the industry has shaped around those limits, just as the industry shaped around the limits of the press in the pre-Internet era and during the browser and Java wars in the 90s
The point here is that Louis pointed out some valid cases where Techmeme did do what it was programmed to do and as result those startups mentioned by Louis did make onto Techmeme. Just because Dave didn’t see them doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen – or does it? How anyone could have missed the dust up that hit everywhere; Techmeme included, over Shyftr is beyond me but Dave seems to which should make the Shyftr team pretty happy since that means all that negative discussion over their service never happened.
Now I’m not a big user of Techmeme but I do drop by the site at least three or four times a week when I’m bored and there is nothing else to read but I have seen plenty of product announcement or at least product launches being talked about by bloggers. Whether it has been Adobe AIR or another one of those minor little programs like Vista right through to NoiseRiver if it is being talked about in the blogosphere it shows up on Techmeme. Mind you this might not be the same blogosphere that Dave wanders around in but it seems to work for the rest of us just fine.
Is Techmeme perfect – probably not but what it was designed for it does a great job even if at times it seems to be more of an echo chamber. That isn’t the fault of Techmeme though. If any blame is to be passed around for that it is the bloggers with nothing of value to add other than practicing their cut ‘n paste skills. Sure there are things we all would like service like Techmeme to do especially if it means we get more eyeballs out of it but that doesn’t mean that the service needs to be screwed with.
Could Techmeme be expanded up by giving us more segments of the tech blogosphere as individual memes – probably but chances are that even then some wouldn’t be happy. I do give Gabe credit though for at least listening and trying to figure out the best way to try and keep everyone happy but the fact is he won’t be able to.
In the end it boils down to this – Gabe you keep doing what you are doing. Tweak Techmeme where you think it needs it and add where you think it will best serve your brand and the community but think twice about listening to people who are probably just pissed because their products didn’t get enough Techmeme time.
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