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Why Experts are Rejecting "Generic" Memetrackers

Last week Scoble explained why he was unsubscribing from Memeorandum. More recently he wrote:

One thing I’ve enjoyed recently is just reading feeds and staying away from the Memetrackers (although, I’ll be honest, I’ve peeked at Memeorandum a few times, it’s a very hard addiction to break).

Pete Cashmore also says that he has “eased off on [his] Memeorandum usage.”

There’s a growing trend in the blogosphere – a detection of indignance towards the meme. Scoble and Pete aren’t the only ones who are paying less attention to it. I’ve largely been off it and others like it for quite some time. And it’s not because the technology is bad. It’s not. In fact, ‘generic’ memetrackers are quite useful – for a certain audience and in certain cases.

Scoble and Pete, as well as others like them don’t need a tech snapshot of the blogosphere. Their OPML files are already fully developed. Like me, I’m sure that they find the same content and more in their RSS readers without even checking the tech memetrackers. The result is that the memetrackers just become noise.

As ‘experts’, as knowledgeable blog readers, these guys and others aren’t looking for the topics that everyone else is reading or blogging about. They’d rather be creating the headlines themselves or reading posts that no one else is. That’s why they and others like them are rejecting ‘generic’ memetrackers.

Two components make the generic memetracker somewhat less useful: 1) Expertise in a particular area. 2) Knowing the sources (blogs or otherwise) to find content relevant to their area of expertise. Society has a decent number of people who fall into that first category but that doesn’t necessarily hold true in the second case, especially with blogs.

Thus, generic memetrackers have their place. They can reach out to those who want a snapshot of the blogosphere for a predefined space (like politics). They can teach potential bloggers about the content and style that seems to resonate in the blogosphere. They can introduce non-blogosphere experts (within a limited number of verticals) to the sources they might want to track.

For experts who know the blogosphere, personalized memetrackers like Findory or Megite make much more sense. The expert gets a view into the memes of their selected sources. Information is filtered but the filtering that takes place is personalized. That’s why I believe personalization will win out in the long term, especially once blogs truly become part of the media mix. What I mean there is that in the coming months and years, people will more easily be able to find blogs on the topics they like.

I think others might agree with my premise about personalization – especially since Fox Interactive just acquired NewRoo – a vertical personalized memetracker that allows users to track news items of their choice. To my knowledge, it is the first memetracker (personalized or generic) to be acquired to date.

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