Gabe Rivera of Memeorandum joined a partially populated Gillmor Gang (Steve, myself, Doc Searls and Mike Arrington--Jon Udell, Mike Vizard and Dana Gardner unavailable) podcast on Friday. As I said during the show, I'm a fan of Memeorandum. It aggregates the discussion around tech topics (with a preponderance of Web 2.0 and blogalicious topic coverage), using some secret algorithmic sauce that Gabe keeps close to the vest. Memeorandum also covers politics in a separate channel. I'd like to see more channels (such as an enterprise IT channel), and Gabe says he is moving in that direction and looking to monetize the site. Memeorandum isn't comprehensive--it picks up clusters of posts and stories (via some kind of link logic and text analysis on sources his software scrapes and feeds off of) from mainstream media and blogosphere sources--but is provides a good filter (compared to searching through a river of RSS feeds or search engines like Technorati) that surfaces the hot topics and associated discussion/conversation, usually from reputable sources.
The Gang spent most of the time during the hour and half podcast discussing the merits and future of Memeorandum--trying to extract information from Gabe--and getting exercised about the future of journalism. Mike believes that sites like Memeorandum are disruptive to mainstream news outlets like the New York Times. For example, the Sony rootkit story unfolded through sites like Memeorandum, Gabe said. You can't compete with passion and the entire world becoming journalists, Mike said. Mainstream media needs to adapt, which will be tough with its high overhead, Mike added. Steve said mainstream media can coopt the blogosphere to compete. True to the extent that not all bloggers want to be independent operators and want to put food on the table.
Clearly, the NYT stable of journalists is outnumbered and a shift is underway. Doc talks about the "unbundling" phenomenon that is disrupting mainstream everything--the most networked players will be advantaged, he said. I talk about scoops of perception. The blogosphere has velocity. Mike thinks Memeorandum will be acquired relatively quickly, and New York Times would be smart to buy it to remain relevant. (Mike, who seems to relish beating competitors with the scoop on TechCrunch, writes about other conversation aggregators on his blog.) (Steve said TechCrunch has demolished Infoworld.)
Steve goes off about the media not being invited to Sun's analyst day, which somehow he thinks makes Sun either stupid or misguided or both and lacking in transparency. Somewhere in the podcast he talks about third rails. We try to figure out what he means. The Redmonks (in attendence) and Stephen Shankland (via watching Webcasts of the event) covered the event, which didn't reveal much that I haven't heard before. I wasn't particularly bent out of shape about missing what I already heard before. Steve's right though that the notion of an analyst day populated by people from established consulting firms is outdated. Just as the blogosphere is changing the face of journalism, it is impacting the analyst world. All a big mashup, Steve concluded and the Gang agreed.