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Is TechMeme Brilliant, Or Merely People Magazine?

Posted by Bob Warfield on October 13, 2007

Jason Calcanis says TechMeme is brilliant because:

It takes conversations that are buzzing around in private and surfaces them for everyone to participate in. Is it perfect? No, of course not. However, TechMeme’s imperfection is just a magnifacantion of our own imperfections.

He goes on to say, “Before Techmeme the only folks with a voice in technology were those with a print publication for the most part.” TechMeme goes back to September 2005, so Jason seems to say that before that bloggers were irrelevant and only people associated with print publications had a voice. 

More amusingly, Calcanis has also publicly thanked TechMeme for being the “greatest linkbaiting tool in history.”

I can’t help but think the “TechMeme is brilliant” article is either more linkbaiting or an attempt to make up a bit with Gabe Rivera after the linkbaiting comment.

Stowe Boyd plugs into all of this by musing that even if TechMeme is based a lot on popularity antics and can be gamed, we shouldn’t hope for a more egalitarian because we are social animals and that just isn’t how we’re wired.

This is my problem with TechMeme and it’s ilk.  It really just winds up with a lot of chasing of one’s tail around topics that don’t ultimately matter to anyone at all except from a Social chit chat and who is the current Social Alpha Dog standpoint.  I read TechMeme to understand that perspective, but I almost never find “conversations buzzing around in private” surfacing to surprise me, unless they’re these sort of content free back and forths, and even then, I’ve already read about it from Stowe Boyd or somewhere else.  Even though I read TechMeme, I don’t do more than scan it, and I rely on other methods for the interesting stuff.

Why do I want to understand that Social Fraternity/Sorority aspect?  An extremely intelligent marketing executive once told me that every marketing person has to read People magazine in order to get the perspective on what Joe Every American thinks from a gossip perspective.  It’s part of your street smarts.  You don’t have to like it, agree with it, or participate in it, but you need to be aware that there are others who do like it, agree with it, and participate in it, and that in fact there are MANY in that camp.  You can’t market effectively without a view into their world no matter what you’re selling.

TechMeme is the blogosphere’s People Magazine.  Read it and be aware.

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