Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

New Media Increasingly Looks Like Old Media Says Techmeme Founder

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 8, 2008

I'm a big fan of Techmeme, the news aggregator run by Gabe Rivera. Gabe has been following old and new media for several years and has created an algorithm that does a great job in filtering up the top stories of the day in the mediasphere. Instead of using customized RSS news aggregators, many people in the tech industry use Techmeme to guide their daily news reading.

I ran into Gabe last week at an event at the St. Regis in San Francisco and asked him about the state of the blogosphere. I pointed out that there seem to be few "real" bloggers left. Original bloggers such as GigaOm, ReadWriteWeb, TechCrunch, etc now all seem to be just online news sites and they read like an "old media" news site.

Gabe agreed, he said:"Techcrunch and the others used to link to each other and now they don't--they only link if they have to."

That's very much like the old media, which hated to link or give credit to any rival news organization. I remember at the Financial Times, we would always try to "stand up" a story ourselves based on our contacts and would only give credit where credit was due when we couldn't write the story based on our information.

Gabe said that in this way, new media sites were very much acting like old media. And with fewer links, that means he has had to continually tweak his algorithm. "I get around the problem by looking in many places for links or references to news stories, in places you might not normally look."

Gabe is very secretive about how his algorithm does the filtering because he doesn't want others gaming his system. A story on Techmeme can generate a lot of traffic for a news site.

He says that there are new bloggers coming online and they have audiences as large as the A-list bloggers had in 2005, and they do link to each other. They tend to be in specialist software engineering circles. But that's where blogging first grew to prominence, amongst the software engineers.

Maybe blogging, that highly personal style of news delivery, is coming back to its roots. I'm thinking of starting a blog...

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