Tech news aggregator site Techmeme got its start in 2005 as an automated, algorithmic collection of blog posts organized according to inbound links and blogosphere conversations. When we first reviewed the site, we noted that "the beauty of it is, only posts with a decent amount of writing in them make the memeorandum page. A simple link and a sentence won't do." Today, that's all changed.
Techmeme editor and founder Gabe Rivera announced this morning, appropriately by Tweet, that the site would now be including Tweets among the up-to-the-moment headlines.
The first Tweet to hit Techmeme, of course, is Gabe Rivera's announcement, which reads "We're now including tweets on Techmeme and this will be the first one. @-reply with something clever to join the Discussion!" Beneath that is a list of tweets discussing the idea of Twitter landing on the front page of the site where only blog posts and articles used to reside. A number of Tweets exalt the move, others ominously predict the end of both blogs and journalism alike, while others still offer some interesting insight on what this means for the state of tech news today.
"I suppose only insiders will get credit for tips, still? Techmeme is acting just like digg before the fall," notes Ed Shahzade.
Of course, you don't have to take my word for it, because this entire Twitter conversation is laid out for all to view on the top of Techmeme.
Rivera explained a bit more behind the new feature in a blog post, saying that by not including Tweets, Techmeme had been missing out:
For as long as newsmakers have used Twitter, tweets have broken news stories. And yet for Techmeme, linking directly to tweets was never imperative - after all most newsworthy tweets are blogged within minutes, moreover with helpful context. But still it seemed as if something was missing in passing over tweets: we'd miss the first few minutes of certain developing stories as well as opportunities for including good commentary. We also missed the chance to let certain sources simply speak under their own byline. And so, at last, we've begun incorporating tweets on Techmeme.
Rivera explained that Tweets included on Techmeme would come in two forms: breaking news and commentary.
In some ways, the addition of Tweets completes the transformation of Techmeme from everything it once wasn't to what it is today. It started off as a completely automated, algorithmic aggregator of tech news. Over time, a number of editors were hired on and it became a bit of a cyborg in nature. Most recently, the site began posting links directly to vendor blogs and announcements, not to contextual stories by other news outlets. Now, it does the one thing it wouldn't do when it first started out. Now, a simple link and a sentence will do.
There's just one question - at what point does Techmeme become not a link to news, but a breaking source on its own? And when does it change from a source of traffic for blogs to a source of competition?