Sunday, October 21, 2007

Why I Don't Care About News Aggregators

I’m old school, that’s why. Old school meaning old. I have nothing against news aggregators like TechMeme at all. I’m just in the tiny percentage of people who developed a habit of RSS and between that and the sites I visit the news aggregators seem like completely unnecessary overhead for me.

First of all in the case of TechMeme, I just don’t personally have any need to know about some topic that’s “hot” right at this moment. If it’s that hot, one of the feeds I read will cover it anyway. I do like seeing multiple viewpoints to a story – a few anyway, but I feel like I get them. I read TechCrunch, Fred Wilson’s AVC, Kara Swisher, and Jason Calacanis via RSS. Then, other than the stuff I’m following for the TV biz, I subscribe to maybe about 50 other RSS feeds. I do peek at Valleywag for the entertainment value. If I wasn’t doing any of that already, I’d find TechMeme very useful.

Perhaps I just like picking my own sources instead of someone picking them for me. I first met Fred Wilson in the mid 90s when I wrote a newsletter about online and Internet stuff (and too much about AOL for many people’s tastes). Fred was a VC back then but he didn’t have a blog. I wish he had, because usually when I’d hear from him it was to hear how wrong I was about something! : ) Then as now, I don’t always agree with what Fred thinks, but I like how he thinks very much.

Same for Swisher, and Calacanis (both of whom I’ve also known for years) and Arrington (who I’ve never met). These and others become my news aggregators. If they link to something I think I want to or should read – I click it. Even though I may not always agree with what they are saying, I trust them to speak their minds. How Calacanis behaves or how Arrington handles embargoes, I just don’t really care about any of that stuff. I read them and others for their thinking and to help me think about things.

I read a lot of other blogs besides those “A-List” folks, but mostly I am a New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and LA Times guy. And because I live here, the San Francisco Chronicle (mostly for sports and restaurant reviews).

Angela Penny, knowing that I loved baseball told me about BallBug from the makers of TechMeme (essentially TechMeme for MLB). But I read the Chronicle, the NY Times, The Washington Post, ESPN, etc – how many versions of “Paul Byrd took HGH” do I need to see? Honestly, I didn’t even need to see the one, the bigger story on that front would be “Player X can prove he didn’t take performance enhancers!” But I promised no more steroid rants.


Angela Penny said...

good blog (and fast!) ... you peek at the valley thing, not peak. Theoretically techmeme should pick this up, but they won't. I just find it bizarre that they have such incredibly obscure blogs on there. Scoble's big 40 minute whiteboard on techmeme (which i didn't watch) didn't make it to the hot list either. It's just a prestige thing and it doesn't drive much traffic.

Robert Seidman said...

I *did* watch the Scoble video and I'm sure by now it's the top story on TechMeme (he says in the video that talking about TechMeme is one of the best ways to game it!).

That won't work for me because I'm not in "the fabric of techmeme" and judging from this blog, generally speaking that as is it should be. So unless you talk Scoble into linking to it, it's not gonna happen.

I changed peak to peek, but how do you know my feed reading doesn't peak with Valleywag? ;-)