Home Breaking the Techmeme Habit

Breaking the Techmeme Habit

Techmeme is a great place to stay up-to-date with the current tech news in the blogosphere, showing the most popular and current news items of the day. The site also offers a Leaderboard section which features the current top 100 bloggers and news sources. However, Techmeme is often under fire from bloggers who feel that it doesn’t deliver a diverse enough selection of blogs and voices. Whether that’s actually true or not is up for debate, but in the meantime, we thought we would look at other ways to stay on top of the the latest news in tech, sans Techmeme.

Blogger Louis Gray recently took an in-depth look at the Techmeme stats and concluded that although the top ten players on command about a third of the attention on the site, but “there is the same amount of room available for those not even in the top 100. With good content, and good linkage from others, reaching TechMeme is available to anyone.”

That may be true, but some people would like to see a little more attention given to those other two-thirds.

But where else can you get the current tech news besides Techmeme? Quite a few places, actually:

Hacker News: When Mike Arrington mentioned that the little-known site, Hacker News, was his first morning read, the site received an influx of traffic. Part Digg, part forum, the site hasn’t been compromised despite all the attention. It’s still a great way to find, read, vote for, and discussion interesting stories.

Elite Tech News Reddit: Back in January, blogger MG Siegler was testing out Reddit’s “Create Your Own Reddit” beta feature. He created the “Elite Tech News Reddit,” which now functions as sort of an “elite” Digg. Currently, he and other bloggers like Steven Hodson, Frederic Lardinois, Louis Gray, Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins, Jason Kaneshiro, and Tony Hung use the site to vote up and down the latest tech stories they find interesting. While big blogs still appear on the site, it’s more of a Techmeme-turned-Mahalo look at the news.

RSSMeme: Lest we forget, there’s always RSSMeme, the site that highlights the top shared items in your Google RSS Reader. Although, due to the fact that the site is dependent on people reading and sharing stories, this isn’t the best site for finding “breaking” news, but it does show what’s popular. You can even customize it to show you a certain number of shares from a certain timeframe, too. Just remember, your vote only counts if you register your Google Reader shared feed.

FriendFeed: Love it or hate it, but FriendFeed is the current social media darling. If you’re using the service, you can use this Greasemonkey script to filter FriendFeed by service. Assuming you’re following some active users, you could filter to just show Google Reader items, for example. This gives you a nice, personalized selection of the news. An honorable mention goes to the FriendFeed Top 100 – which showed the hottest links for March, 2008, but a service that provided this info on a more regular basis would be better.

Techsted: A recent email alerted me to newcomer, Techsted. I can’t say I love it, but I like their idea  of categorizing stories as Dealings, Launches, etc. There just needs to be more categories and it should be better organized. Still, the site has a neat “Designer’s Stuff” section which could appeal to that niche as well as a “B-List,” where you can find the hottest stories from the non-Techmeme set.

Tailrank: Good ol’ Tailrank. At one time, a Techmeme competitor, Tailrank hasn’t gotten much attention since last year, when a brief outage made news because no one seemed to notice. Tailrank still links to the blogosphere, but the news there seems stale. So it’s another place to see what’s going on, but don’t expect it to break news.

TechWatching: Yet another Techmeme clone, this one a weekend project at best. The site’s redeeming feature is search, which lets you search for terms appearing in the most read blogs for the past 3 months, month, 24 hours, etc. The site’s creator notes that he’s kind of busy right now, volunteering in Bangladesh, so if anything goes “awry” so be it. OK then.

Social News: Of course, you can get your tech news from social news sites like Digg and Mixx, but Mixx seems to have a slight edge in getting breaking news stories to the homepage faster, since Digg’s complicated algorithm often means stories have to acquire hundreds of diggs to make front page. However, in sheer numbers, Digg still rules the social news arena.


After reviewing the alternatives, it seems to me that Techmeme’s popularity is due to the simple fact that it does it best. For breaking tech news, there isn’t really a better option…at least not yet.

Where do you go to get your tech news? Let us know in the comments.

Update: Marshall’s story on Popurls makes me think that should be on this list, too!

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