Techmeme vs. Hacker News

Fred Wilson posted a Twitter message earlier today, in which he asked people whether they got most of their tech news from Techmeme or Y Combinator’s Hacker News, which is sort of like Reddit. It was actually a Straw Poll, but apparently most people didn’t get that, so they didn’t vote in a way that could be picked up by the poll, which shows only 12 votes (most for Hacker News). Or maybe the vote was skewed by the fact that you still can’t go backwards and see past messages in Twitter. On FriendFeed, the question got about 35 answers.

I took a look at Techmeme.com — which I read multiple times a day — and then I looked at Hacker News, which I only check out from time to time (although I do get its RSS feed in my Google Reader), and compared some of the stories at about 8 p.m. EST. Here they are listed:

Techmeme:

— Windows chief talks 7 (44 links)
— Web 2.0 fails to produce cash (13 links)
— AG wins suit against Dell (8 links)
— The fbopen Initiative (14 links)
— Intel’s Centrino 2 delayed (8 links)
— Justice and realtors (3 links)
— Google mini upgrade (7 links)
— Amazon slashes Kindle price (8 links)
— Liberty pulls back from Vongo (8 links)
— Google CEO: Mobile is next (2 links)

Hacker News:

— Cities and ambition (60 points)
— Google App Engine and I/O (13 points)
— Xobni hires engineers (11 points)
— AJAX Libraries and Google (35 points)
— Is anyone using scalr? (11 points)
— Paul Graham (11 points)
— Help Send Us To Startup Camp (5 points)
— TiipJoy’s New API (31 points)
— Freeman Dyson on Global Warming ( 24 points)
— Arrington On Copyright (5 points)

As you can see, they are quite different. Techmeme has a lot about Windows, whereas Hacker News has nothing (since most members are likely Mac or Linux users, I expect). And while Hacker News has some pretty geek-centric stories — such as the Ajax Libraries one or the Scalr story — it also has some interesting ones that Techmeme doesn’t, including the Gates/Yahoo story from All Things D, and one really tremendous and thoughtful read: legendary astrophysicist Freeman Dyson on Global Warming. Then, just for the heck of it, I looked at some of the top stories on Slashdot and Digg.

Slashdot:

— Youtube and Viacom
— Realtors and Justice
— Would You Rent a Song?
— Six Degrees of Wikipedia
— TJX Fires Employee
— Scalable Data Structures
— Poor Economy and Innovation
— Consumer Reports on Games
— The Tunguska Impact Crater
— Singapore Firm Claims Patent

Digg:

— MacBook Air cuts through flesh (337 diggs)
— 40+ Extremely Beautifull Icon Sets (668 diggs)
— Banshee 1.0 beta 2 media player (248 diggs)
— KDE Project Ships First Beta of KDE 4.1 (229 diggs)
— 14 Creative Advertisements [PICS] (1046 diggs)
— IBM Employees Use Social Media (394 diggs)
— Bill Gates, Jobs and Wozniak [PIC] (1003 diggs)
— YouTube: Viacom challenge (839 diggs)
— Google Maps Rolls Out Features (1253 diggs)

Slashdot looks like kind of a combination of Techmeme and Hacker News, with some geeky stories (Scalable Data Structures) and some other general-interest ones (Would You Rent a Song?). Digg has a bunch of image posts — something it is well-known for — including one that misspells the word “beautiful.” Take from that what you will.

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