I have used and referred to Techmeme as the New York Times of the blogosphere since the day I discovered it. It is one of my first stops when I go to the net for my news.
But Tom Morris has a good point. Techmeme has evolved from the New York Times of the blogosphere to the Wall Street Journal of the blogosphere. I don’t read the Wall Street Journal for one simple reason. It bores me to tears. In fact, I think the Wall Street Journal is a lot like the opera. Many people who go there are more interested in what it says about them than what it does for them. Like neckties and polo shirts.
Tom thinks, and I agree, that layering a media slant (which in the online world is fancy jargon for “come click on my ads”) on top of the larger business focus makes it even less techy and more something else. Something less interesting. Some square thing trying to get stuffed into a round hole. Stuffed by those who try in the name of a potential dollar to turn a content platform into a product.
Maybe that’s the root of the issue.
Maybe the Techmeme algorithm has deduced that all of this Web 2.0 stuff is really just the media business in some new form. If you have no product to sell, what are you? If your primary or only revenue source is the sale of ads, what are you? You’re not science. You’re not a seller of goods. You’re media. You’re the new TV. A million pages of user generated content broadcasting your AdSense banner over the new air.
Science, as Tom points out, is the glorious process that leads to the stuff people push on and onto Techmeme. But it’s a process that’s an extra step away from the illusion of money. The process gets ignored in favor of the product and the frenzy to monetize it.
Monetize it largely by getting us to click on ads next to the content we have created on the platforms developed by some scientist who doesn’t know Mike Arrington from Mike Brady. Again, it all looks and acts like media.
Sure, there is science on the internet and in the blogosphere. But it’s not driving the Techmeme train anymore. If it ever did.
I still enjoy Techmeme, and I continue to believe it is one of the most brilliant creations of the Web 2.0 era, largely because of its efficiency and simplicity. But I do wish it was more about tech and less about how to make money off of that tech. The same tech that Web 2.0 generally mandates be given away for free.
But that’s just not the way it is. Not on Techmeme, not in the blogosphere and, sadly, not in life.