Memeorandum’s close quarters

Paul Kedrosky notes how Tech Memeorandum seems to be turning into a blogospheric echo-amplifier, with a constant “clustering of people around the topic du jour” at the top of the page. He sees the preening instinct at work: “Bloggers go to tech.memeorandum to see whatever’s top of the page, and, whether they care about about the subject or not, they blog about it, knowing that they will shortly get their blog URL snarfed up and displayed on the front page of the memeorandum site. They are, in other words, pimping their blog to memeorandum in exchange for referrer traffic.”

He’s probably being a little harsh in saying people are linking into these topics “whether they care about the subject or not.” My guess is that people just naturally want to be part of the hot conversation of the day. But, no doubt, it’s a pretty easy way to get your blog up in lights – and that must add to the piling-on effect. And Kedrosky’s conclusion rings true: “memeorandum creates an instant self-reinforcing ego echo chamber.”

I don’t know if it’s related, but the scope of what shows up on Memeorandum seems like an awfully narrow slice of the world of “technology” – one fashionable little corner of the internet, basically. Does the Memeorandum algorithm need tweaking, or is it just charting the natural arc of blogging as a popular medium?

3 thoughts on “Memeorandum’s close quarters

  1. Joshua Porter

    From my experience there is only a small chance that you’ll be able to get on the page, unless the topic stays hot for an extended period of time (half a day or more). If it’s something like Google/AOL, you will probably be able to. But most topics thankfully move down quickly, and so any attention you might receive would be small.

    But before we go as far as Paul goes, I’ll point out that generating “echo” conversation by pointing to existing conversation is very much how we do it in the “voice world”. If you’re talking about something, and I hear you talking about it, I’m much more likely to start talking about it…we’re very reactionary that way (just as you are in this post). We’re living in the moment. In addition, I’m often interested to hear some of my favorite bloggers “weigh in” on the big issue of the day/week and services like this help them do that.

    Nevertheless, gaming is an issue, and an interesting problem for Gabe to solve.

  2. George

    From my own personal (and thus anecdotal) experience, I’m inclined to agree with Kedrosky. On a few recent visits to Technorati, I have clicked through on some of the top searches (notably the non-political ones) to find that the top search results are just some random guy’s post which concludes with “and I just visited Technorati and here are the top ten search results” or some such similar phrase.

    I think there’s a definite wider issue at stake, as well. There’s been a meteoric rise of how-to-monetize-your-blog sites/posts recently and along with it how-to-boost-your-traffic tips. The attitude that your traffic IS your standing in the community – your voice is worth listening to if you get lots of page views – seems to have also climbed to the top of the stack recently, replacing the utopian belief that you will be judged on the quality of what you have to say.

    Add all that together and I’ve certainly noticed an awful lot of noise coming out of it. People don’t write according to what interests them anymore, they write according to what drives traffic. Dozens of sites tagging everything they write with “web 2.0” and “apple” and the like. Sites that just pump out How-To guides especially for getting onto Digg/etc.

    Maybe “echo” is a good word for it, but I’m inclined to be less generous and describe it in terms of boots and dog shit.

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