The Five Members of the Techmeme Family (so what are you?)

I’ve been an avid follower of Techmeme since Dec 2005, when Scoble evangelized it to me while I was working in Santa Clara at HDS. Ever since, I’ve been watching with great interest on how it changed, evolved, and content was added to it. Most importantly, it was interesting to see ‘who’ was being added to it. Over 2 years later, I’ve concluded there are only five different types of bloggers that end up on Techmeme.

When I refer to a “Major Node”, its the same as the textual style of a “H1” heading or large heading that lead the page. Next, the smaller text is a “H2” and then the dozens of bloggers in the “H3”. The lower the number, the larger the font, and the greater the prominence.

The Five types of publishers on the Techmeme site:

The Original: Often where the story or idea breaks, this is the first instance of the topic being discovered. Unfortunately, this person doesn’t always get the H1 spot as the lead node.

The Breaker: This can be mainstream news source or a mainstream blogger that discovers the story from the Original News Source and blogs it, as a result, they often become the top node, even if they arnen’t the original source. It seems as if some websites are natually geared to be an “H1” even if they are resonators.

The Resonator: Also referred to as those who echo or copy, they repeat what was already said, adding little or no additional content, news or opinion. You’ll often see lines and lines of these in the H3.

The CounterPoint: This person often spins editorial the opposite way of the lead story, and takes the opposite viewpoint, exploring the downsides of any viewpoint. They often become and H2, and sometimes overtake the H1.

The Encapsulator: These bloggers often summarize the entire long thread of a discussion, listing out the point and counterpoints and nicely creating a digest for those late to the story can quickly catch up on.

In the end, most Techmeme contributors end up playing multiple roles (except for the breaker who will almost always gain an H2 or H1 regardless if their late to the story) and it’s a constant change.

So did I miss any other types of Techmeme members? So what type are you?

14 Replies to “The Five Members of the Techmeme Family (so what are you?)”

  1. Thanks for that I was keen to read these, I relate to them across most blogs and most people, though some of course just diary their lives, which is also cool.

    On topical events I’m probably a CounterPoint and sometimes Originial, I guess.


  2. I’d suggest one more (which is perhaps somewhat rare).

    The Amplifier: These bloggers go beyond summarizing in the way an Encapsulator might and instead expand on the topic by providing additional information, sources, and/or insight (sometimes as a result of specializing in the same area as the Original). They may sometimes appear to be a Counterpoint blogger, but are likely using a counterpoint argument to further deepen the discussion beyond the Encapsulator effort.

  3. Main stream media is also very often on Techmeme and interestingly enough not always the ‘Original’ or “Breaker” as traditional media would like to be seen as. Very often in this new media world they can be in any of the five categories as well.

    I am been keeping an eye on the Techmeme Leaderboard ( because i find it very interesting to see how mainstream media ranks so i just scraped the media sources from the top 30:

    #2 New York Times
    #4 CNET
    #9 The Register
    #10 BBC
    #12 Associated Press
    #16 Reuters
    #17 InfoWorld
    #19 PC World
    #21 Forbes
    #27 Wall Street Journal
    #29 Business Week

    I would potentially add another definition to the Resonator that has a different purpose- the purpose is not to show up on Techmeme but since their main audience are NOT Techmeme readers (can you believe that!) they still benefit from the ‘copy’ or ‘echo’. So perhaps the vertical audience aggregator. I would consider myself in that category.

  4. As much as Techmeme tracks what it does well, I have to agree with Chris Messina – it’s an echo chamber, a firehose and tends to favor those with a reputation on Techmeme and at times excludes voices with something interesting to say but little reputation. Chris’ post at says it all.

    Interestingly his Tweet a couple of days back reinforces his move –

  5. Pingback: broadstuff
  6. Sound like a behavioral segmentation… would be nice to d
    – quantify each kind of profile and see if we find similar distribution in other communities
    – decline them into personas

  7. good list, from what I’ve seen you are missing two:

    #6 the gamer – per comment #9 above, someone who follows the threads on techmeme, and writes a post adding little-to-no-value to the discussion

    #7 the instigator – this one’s a little non-obvious, but if a “discussion” is happening without a common link, one blog post that references each other link can often bump a story onto (or up if already on) techmeme

  8. I like #4s definition of an Amplifier. I cannot stand when someone spends what amounts to three minutes referring to a major headline story, links it, adds a sentence, and waits for traffic. If I link to a Techmeme story, I find I’ve spend an hour minimum, usually two or more, writing a carefully crafted opinion that may refer to a story on Techmeme, but also to one or two others. And sometimes it’s an opinion piece I’ve been mulling over for days or longer.

    I’m usually inspired to write after running across two, three or more different stories – not all on Techmeme – that stir my creative juices. I may have had thoughts on a particular subject, and when reading a story highlighted on Techmeme, get a missing puzzle piece that helps bring together an entire, nearly original blog post.

    Great topic. I find I check Techmeme a dozen times a day. Minimum.

  9. What about “the expector”? That’s the person who writes a post linking to the main post and who sits back and expects tons of new readers because of it.

    I love Techmeme, and Gabe is a cool cat. But it doesn’t drive traffic or readership as many think it does.

  10. I submit:

    The Blogosphere-Blowhard.

    The Blogosphere-Blowhard is Someone who seems ‘everywhere’ in the net, they seem to be talking big about all the hot buzzwords. Their websites list them speaking in exotic foreign nations, they make prognostic claims with an air of authority and some of them are just really, really loud.

    People who have been living with new media for a while, have witnessed the extent of masquerade on the net, and they sense a growing feeling of unrest when numerous unconscious clues don’t seem to add up in someone’s ‘digital profile’ (google, websites etc.). The Blogosphere-Blowhard always owns a VC Fund, or is part of a High Technology Startup that is either in stealth mode, or is recently funded but the software seems like something they downloaded off the net.

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