October 1st, 2007
One of the many reasons why Techmeme is the leading tech news aggregator among tech insiders is that it aggregates traditional media brands alongside new media brands. No place is this more evident than the new Techmeme Leaderboard — the top 25 is a near perfect mix of media brands that are 2 years old, 10 years old, 25 years old, and 50+ years old. New York Times alongside Ars Technica. CNET alongside TechCrunch. Computerworld alongside GigaOm. WSJ alongside Read/WriteWeb. You don’t have to give up the traditional media sources just because the new media sources have become so valuable.
What really struck me about the Techmeme leaderboard (beyond, of course, Publishing 2.0 debuting at #58) is how it is dominated by media brands. And when I say media brands, I mean TechCrunch, GigaOm, Search Engine Land, Engadget and Gizmodo. There are very few “blogs” on in the “traditional” sense, i.e. a SINGLE voice, like Dave Winer or Jeff Jarvis. There are many media brands that use blogging software, that have comments and trackbacks, that encourage their writers to have a distinctive voice — these media brands certainly retain their blog roots.
But it seems silly at this point to box in big tech media brands like the ones I listed above with the term “blog.” These brands are media companies in the truest sense: They seek leverage by consolidating resources and talent to achieve economies of scale. They seek to scale on the strength of their brands as much (if not more) than on individual talent (although they employ individual talent that drives their brand).
If the technology vertical is one of the vanguards of new media, we can see the evolution of media towards more nimble, more networked, more conversational media companies — but media companies nonetheless.
The Techmeme Leaderboard demonstrates the convergence of new media and traditional media — with new media becoming more brand-driven, and traditional media becoming more individual voice and talent driven.
Perhaps what’s most notable, thought, is how Techmeme — the aggregator — has become such a significant arbiter of the success of these brands. Google may drive more traffic, but Techmeme drives more status. Media brands may be converging, but the is aggregator firmly at the center.