TrendWatch: Comparing MicroMemes, Network Feeds, and MacroMemes

I want you to start thinking differently about how you get information. As you know from my postings, that trust is highest from our peers, we trust those that are like us, or our friends above all us.

Information delivery is evolving, we’re starting to get information on the open wide web from our friends and contacts (although email has been a medium for a long time).

TrendWatch: Anatomy of MicroMemes, Network Feeds, and MacroMemes:

1) Narrow: MicroMeme

MicroMemes are highly focused and targeted, delivering the information to you that your network and friends thinks is important. A few days ago, I interviewed the founder of Friendfeed, an example of a MicroMeme.

[MicroMeme: Information with your immediate network about what they think is the most important]

[Example: “Three of your friends think this article is great”]

LinkedIn displays “articles your colleagues are reading” as well as other companies. Colleagues are in your direct network, tying news to your social graph.

Upcoming, displays the top events from your friends, to find local events, perhaps a great way to get timely information from your network (per Scoble’s suggestion)

Google Reader recently added a “Friends Shared Items” which looks at gestures to determine what your contacts find is important. I credit Steve Gillmor for leading the theory on Gestures, I’d link to him, but he doesn’t prefer that.

Plaxo Pulse, recently acquired by Comcast, (keep an eye on this, I am) displays information that your network cares about. Picture from Terry Chay’s Flickr photos, used with Creative Commons attribution

Friendfeed, which I’ve already discussed shows information based upon your friends, pulling in all of their social streams.

Facebook’s Newspage (thanks to Jamie, in the comments) points out that it indicates weight of objects from your network such as ““5 of your friends are attending xyz concert on June 15th.”

2) Moderate: Network Feeds

Common in many social networks and feedreaders, they display the most recent information from your network but do not prioritize it based on anything but time. This is problematic over time, as we need to find what’s important in a sea of noise.

[Network Feed: The most recent information from your network, but not prioritized by your friends]

[Example: Today, your friends have joined a group, added a picture and yesterday, your sister went to a baseball game]

Feedreaders like MyYahoo or BlogLines don’t put weight on what your network thinks is important, and therefore just deliver content based upon most recent.

MySpace’s newspage shows alerts based on time, but does not prioritize or look for trends or memes.

3) Wide: MacroMeme

The most common form of how information was delivered for over 100 years is by industry and from an editor that you don’t know, and sometimes don’t trust. Although more advanced forms have appeared with news sites that use algorithms to find out what’s important.

[MacroMeme: Information about the things your industry thinks is important]

[Example: The top news stories today are Microsoft wanting to acquire Yahoo according to the New York Times]

New York Times has no social sorting of your content, nor does it prioritize information based upon your networks’ preferences. It’s sorted at the industry level although it offers various “popularity”.

Techmeme delivers industry related information for the tech industry, but it’s not sorted by social networks, or social preferences –unless you’re one of the few top bloggers that are actively involved.

Google News also displays information based upon industry perspective, but does offer a “popular” ranking.

Each of these information delivery systems serves a different purpose, none is better than the other, but it’s important to know that MicroMeme presentation is a trend on the rise. For many, MacroMemes will continue to be the way that information is delivered on the morning breakfast table, but as the next generation of information cravers arrive, information will start to be sorted by our social preferences.