Duncan Riley of The Inquisitr writes a post on the "bitchmeme" phenomenon of Techmeme entitled "Techmeme and the Noise Problem". In it he says...
Bitchmeming about Techmeme has long been a favorite past-time of bored early adopters over numerous weekends in the last year. The arguments are usually similar, and revolve around variations of Techmeme is to focused on reporting news from large companies and/ or ignores small startups, and that it is dominated by a few sites while others don’t get a look in.
To be honest, I don't really think this is a problem. In fact, I'll go even further and say I think trying to "fix" this would be a problem.
(In fairness Mr. Riley makes the same point in his post and I'm really just elaborating on what he said. But he said it in a way that was awkward to quote because it required combining two non consecutive paragraphs which, when done, made it look like he was making an entirely different point)
The important thing to remember here is the definition of a meme tracker. It's a tool that tracks topics across a certain community segment. For Techmeme to do what Mr. Riley is asking it would have to actively supplant the community's judgement for its own. At that point it stops being a meme tracker and becomes just another news site.
Meme Trackers, as the name implies, track the community. If Bitchmemes arise it's because that's what the community was interested in (whether they want to admit it or not).
On that note there is a solution to the problem outlined above and it's a simple one. It's called the Inquisitr, or TechCrunch, or ReadWrite Web, or any other site that's covered by Techmeme and can publish news on small startups. Its a cyclical thing, if Techmeme is failing the community its because the community is failing Techmeme. If you run a web site dedicated to the tech industry its your job to hunt down interesting startups and make a post that gets other Techmeme covered sites interested.
The true irony of Techmeme is that its probably the most "Web 2.0" site out there. Everyone loves to go on and on about the community on Twitter or on FriendFeed or on whatever the A-List decides to love next but all those sites are individual focused. You have your individual Twitter page, or FriendFeed, or whatever. Techmeme may be the only site out there that's legitimately community driven.
The Quick Aside Point: When I first saw the quoted post I went in a completely different direction based on this quote...
I’ve been a Techmeme fan for a long time, and I still religiously visit the site daily, although I have found myself using it less and less as writing here at The Inquisitr has allowed me to move away from pleasing someone with a Techmeme headline, to writing about what I love or am interested in, Techmeme headline or not be damned. I’ve also had the privilege of meeting Gave Rivera before and as well as being a great bloke, he’s smart as well…and I should know, I’ve tried multiple times to get a Techmeme clone scripted without any success.
I'm not sure it justifies its own post but I did want to point out how amazing it is that Techmeme has persisted through all the other tech industry fads. It has lived through Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, et al. and is still going strong. In a community as fickle as tech blogs that's pretty darn amazing.
The REALLY out there Aside: Wall-E Rocks! That has nothing to do with the rest of this post but we just got back from it and I felt the need to say it.