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Tech reporters blew the Meerkat story but, no, I can't name a single one because fear!

My strange exchange last night with the author of that post: 'Meerkat is dying – and it’s taking U.S. tech journalism with it.'


  1. So I'm reading along in my stream and I find several references to this post at, claiming the tech press blew the Meerkat story. Every day I see a lot of low-quality "analysis" like this float by, especially from tech sites. Someone is claiming that everyone else fell for the hype. The piece wasn't worth sharing but one thing really bothered me about it: Why no names and no links?
  2. Because when I 'm told that Meerkat’s 'success' was the creation of a handful of West Coast tech bloggers who managed to lure major newspapers into covering a phenomenon that did not exist... I want to know who was involved in that, and which pieces are being referenced. That's press criticism 101. Being the curious sort, I asked the author about the missing information. Here's our exchange:
  3. At this point others began to chime in. A small sample:
  4. Now I'm not saying this ping-ponging was a big deal: it's one poorly-done post that didn't deserve the blip of attention it got yesterday. But there is a larger point here. No, three.
  5. 1. Accountability for crappy tech coverage starts with names — authors, sites — and links. You're not exposing a systemic problem if you can't take me to examples of the problem. You're letting the perps go: doesn't apply to me!
  6. 2. You can't fight insidious hype by indulging in more of it. "Meerkat is dying – and it’s taking U.S. tech journalism with it." That says tech journalism is expiring because of the failure of one well publicized app. Is that a remotely credible claim? "Dozens of notable tech reporters kept tweeting and blogging about Meerkat as the biggest break-out of the year." They did? But you're going to keep their names from us? We don't get to hear their words? If hype is unearned excitement, you're just adding to it with unsupported charges like that.
  7. 3. Linking is not just good form, or something you should do because the web allows for it. It's a basic tool for the extension of trust. A writer makes a checkable claim, then links to the evidence. If the author is new to me, I will check it out by comparing what I find at the link to the claim made in the text. Does it really support the weight the writer has placed on it? If it does, cha-ching: instant trust in that byline's bank account. If not, I may never click on that person's name again.
  8. Chris Tolles pointed out a good example. At first glance this piece in the Verge looks like a example of what the author is talking about. It calls Merrkat a "breakout hit." It compares the app to Foursquare and Twitter. It says Meerkat "took Austin by storm this year." But read to the end and you find this.... None of which to say is that Meerkat’s long-term prospects are guaranteed. Twitter was able to hang on to the users it acquired in SXSW; Foursquare was less successful. Many apps simply turn out to be fads. But for now at least, Meerkat has captured the media’s attention. There you go: it's a media phenomenon! Exactly the point the author was making.