TechMeme is a Representative Democracy –Happy 4th of July!

I’m feeling a bit patriotic today, however like everything on this this blog –I tie it back to Web Strategy.

TechMeme is a Representative Democracy
I just finished responding to various social networking and social site essays, and it occurred to me that TechMeme is also a social site –there are members, leaders, profiles, identifies, all of the things we just discussed. The same could be said for the elected representatives in the American government.

Aggregated Conversations

TechMeme is conversation aggregator, it looks for the top conversations (probably be seeking links, and looking for RSS feed pings) that occur within a predefined specific number of bloggers. This list was seeded by a few individuals, and now I suspect it’s both automated and manual in identifying who’s been ‘appointed’ to make it there. TechMeme chooses the stories and bloggers that display on the site by looking for conversation patterns –this is a form of ‘voting’ by the people, or those that find a topic interesting. Since there are over 40 milliion blogs, having this smaller slice of aggregation makes sense.

Here’s what Techmeme says about itself on it’s about page:

“Online news is changing. Increasingly, stories are broken and analyzed in near real-time and away from established news sites.

Techmeme offers you a window into this new world of news, focusing on technology, particularly tech business news and innovations in computing and the Internet.

It auto-generates a news summary every 5 minutes, drawing on experts and pundits, insiders and outsiders, media professionals and amateur bloggers.”

TechMeme is an example of a Representative Democracy
It’s occurred to me that TechMeme, much like many democratic forms of government is actually a Representative Or Electoral Democracy–the spokespersons are elected (by links) to have a seat and speak their mind in the anointed forum. They often represent the voices of others (by linking out) and draw conclusions from within. Voices are heard, arguments happen, and sometimes there are resolutions, if not conclusions made –one thing is for sure, there are as many different opinions as there are shades of color. Just like real a real congress, opinions are often given although decisions may no t be made.

What impact do these voices have? Quite a lot really, this group of bloggers can represent companies, customers, people, products –take a look at how PayPerPost was introduced in Techmeme.

Partial List of TechMeme Representatives
Some of our distinguished (at least in my mind) Senators and Representatives include that I see on TechMeme are: Dave Winer, Shel Israel, Robert Scoble, Michael Arrington and Marshall Kirkpatrick, Andy Beal, Nick Carr, Chris Ziegler, Thomas Ricker, Pete Cashmore, Amit Agarwal, Scott Karp, Matt from the Blog Herald, Chris Pirillo, Jeremy Zawodny, Marc Cantor, Niall Kennedy, Om Malik, Gizmodo, Duncan Riley, Nick from Valleywag, Ryan Singel, Tom Evslin, Lee Gomes, Scott Rosenberg, Ryan Singel, Jay Currie, Steve Rubel, Jeremy Pepper, Brian Oberkirch, Zoli, Tara Hunt, Guy Kawasaki, JD Lasica, Doc Searls, Kathleen Craig, Tim Oreilly, Scott Beale, Thomas Hawk, Dan Farber, Tom Foremski, Steve Gillmore, Jason Calcanis, Jeremy Wright, and many, many others.

In the spririt of this American holiday, It would be interesting to identify technological party lines; liberal, conservative, politco, lobbyist, people’s voice –heh.

Edit: Silicon Beat has a link to a fireworks finder from Yahoo.

  • Jeremiah,

    Great description of Techmeme.

    Maybe it comes from watching the Germany-Italy match this morning, but from the list of “elected representatives”, I don’t see much cultural or gender diversity. The list though may be characteristic of the industry.

    I can understand why the model for Techmeme may have been setup this way in the beginning, that is to start off with A-listers and aggregating their posts, I would have thought the goal was to expand the conversation past the original seeds and become a more inclusive conversation.

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”, comes to mind.

  • Marshall

    Well, there’s only two names I recognize as women’s there. That’s a much lower percentage than in even the US government…strange as I find this concept to be.

  • Marshall

    I had to think of a woman\’s name that I frequently see on Techmeme –in fact to be Honest, I don\’t even see Tara\’s name on there that frequently, but I know her voice is often heard and listened to.

    Yes, Techmeme has mainly men that are blogging. –is this too different than the United States Govermental bodies? I don\’t have any stats to prove this one way or the other.

  • Chris

    You said: “I don’t see much cultural or gender diversity. The list though may be characteristic of the industry.”

    Yes, we share the same observations…

  • Chris, I often get “Techmeme-d” and I am by far not an A-lister.   I get there if I blog about something that others post, too.  Sometimes I am the first one, the thread appears to be mine, then a few link to me; if it’s about a popular subject, soon the “tree” will change, an A-lister becomes the thread initiator, and mine a related post.

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