Techmeme just announced that Tweets can now become headlines or discussion topics. For those who live and breathe on Techmeme’s technology news feed, the move isn’t entirely unexpected since the site’s main aim is to deliver news in real-time. The implications, though, are reverberating through the social media landscape as the logistical questions about how this will truly work are yet to be answered.
For anyone unfamiliar with Techmeme, we’ll say right away that you’re missing out on a prime news source. The site scans the internet at large to find the must-read technology stories and presents them all in one easy-to-read page. Most agree that it’s infinitely more powerful than even Google at returning relevant and real-time news results and is a technology lover’s go-to resource for staying in the know. Techmeme accomplishes this via a powerful computer algorithm combined with a human editorial review.
If Michael Jackson’s death taught us anything, it was that Twitter was way ahead of the national media in breaking news. Since that time, breaking news stories are regularly tweeted about before a traditional journalist sets fingers to keyboard and Techmeme was destined to incorporate this activity into their reporting structure in order to maintain their real-time news status.
So how does it work? Techmeme will break tweets up into either news-breaking or commentary categories, presumably a duty that will fall solely on the human editorial task list. If a news-breaking story is deemed “interesting enough”, it may receive a full Techmeme headline of its own. Commentary tweets, on the other hand, which are categorized as responses, reactions, or secondary discussions related to news stories, will usually show up in Discussion headlines.
Gabe Rivera, Techmeme’s founder, explains their discovery methodology best in his original announcement post:
“Tweets mentioning Techmeme have a much easier time being discovered, since our automation is already continuously scanning for them. Specifically, tweets that mention @Techmeme or @TechmemeFH or include links to techmeme.com or techme.me will be crawled. So a tweet along the lines of, say, “The premise of this story is totally unfounded” will have a greater chance of being picked up if it contains via @Techmeme or cc @Techmeme, or a http://techme.me/xxxx permalink at the end. And yes, you can tip @Techmeme on Twitter about another newsworthy tweet.”
Tech writers and bloggers alike are surely going to be in competitive overdrive trying to be the first to tip a Techmeme headline via Twitter. It will be interesting to see just how good Techmeme’s algorithm and editing processes are in wading through the wave of spam that’s bound to come flooding through the Twitter airwaves.
By Anne McGraw