For the record, I never watched Rocketboom. I started hearing more about it in the past few weeks and thought maybe I might check it out. Amanda Congdon’s name I’d heard vaguely in various posts across the blogosphere that I’ve read in the past. Andrew Baron? Didn’t ring any bells. But heck, I’m sure my name probably doesn’t ring any bells with Amanda and Andrew either.
So for me, Amanda and Andrew’s split is a non-issue, but one that’s sucked the life out of a news source I depend on, relegating all else into “in other news” below-the-fold status. Annoying.
Then again, perhaps this is good. Perhaps this helps me realize this really is a big story given how many bloggers are talking about it. Certainly seeing Techmeme light up like this when Robert Scoble left Microsoft or Bill Gates announced his semi-retirement made a big impact.
Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s just too much navel-gazing among the blogosphere making something bigger than it is. I really don’t know, but I do love the visual impact of how a Techmeme front page can reflect a big story, even if I don’t always agree with it.
Sadly, I’ve never seen an easy way to scroll through “back issues” of Techmeme. Maybe there’s an option like this out there. If you know of one, please comment. Instead, you have to do it manually.
Look at the Techmeme page. Next to each major item, you’ll see a little paper icon with a folded corner, like shown below:
Click on that. Doing that brings up a snapshot of the page, jumping you directly to that particular item, so you can see how it looked back in time.
For example, here’s the snapshot for the current Rocketboom look on Techmeme. And over on the right-hand side, you’ll see the time and date of that page, like this:
Now go back to the home page. Down at the bottom right-hand side, you’ll see a box called “Archives,” like this:
This is a fast way to drill back in time if you have failed to bookmark a particular Techmeme page.
For example, Robert Scoble announced he was leaving Microsoft on June 11, 2006. So put that into the Archive box:
June 11, 2006
And you get this snapshot (I’ve included the entire page, so you really can see the impact):
Wow, now that was a front page. Later that week on June 15, Gates made his announcement, giving us this snapshot:
While I think Robert is great, you can see the navel gazing skew on Techmeme with these two front pages. Scoble comments go on and on and on and on. Gates, who actually runs the company Scoble was leaving, a hugely powerful person, not to mention the richest man in the world, gets less than half the coverage in the blogosphere. Here’s a side-by-side look.
But going day-by-day isn’t perfect, and Gates might have been bigger than I’ve shown above, if I checked at a slightly different time during the day.
For example, Om Malik got big headlines when he said he’d be leaving Business 2.0. That was on June 13, but the default June 13 snapshot is like this:
Where’s Om? Here he is:
Same day, just in the morning at 8am. Twelve hours later, the default snapshot that Techmeme gives for 8pm has Om no longer news. In fact, that story made its last gasp at 7:55pm like this at the bottom of Techmeme:
What a difference a half-a-day makes
I’ll drop Gabe Rivera who runs Techmeme a note about the post. All these great front pages are easy to recreate, if you know the exact time you want. But I wish there was a better way to browse them, plus something that automatically built a catalog of the top stories and front pages over time.
Postscript: See Gabe’s comments below, plus he’s also posted some more comments in Time travel and permalink HOWTO, plus why the huge clusters? on the Techmeme blog.