New way to get on Techmeme: send tips to Techmeme via Twitter

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 4:09PM ET
by Gabe Rivera     Permalink

Have you ever wanted to suggest news stories to Techmeme? Often there are Techmeme readers aware of great stories that have fallen through the cracks, or are taking too long to appear on Techmeme. So I've long wanted to enable news tips, but the question remains: how best to receive them? Though forms or a special email address might work, today we begin by receiving tips over Twitter.

If you've been reading Techmeme, you know all about Twitter, which lets you send short messages to other Twitter users who have opted to "follow" you. It's like blogging but with the immediacy of instant messaging, plus a whole stable of desktop and mobile applications built around the service. While Twitter isn't as mainstream as Facebook, it's already mainstream among bloggers and many people ahead of the curve on breaking news.

Techmeme already posts headlines to Twitter, through Twitter accounts Techmeme, which includes only the bigger stories of the day, and TechmemeFH (Techmeme Firehose), which includes every main headline that hits the site (the clear choice for tech news junkies). But until today the tweets have gone one way: from these accounts.

To send a tip to Techmeme, just include "Tip @Techmeme" in your message along with the URL of the news story you'd like to appear, just as Noah Kagan has done here:

Or alternatively, "Tip @TechmemeFH"; either of the two Techmeme user ids will work. Including titles or even other non-Techmeme user ids is fine, as long as "Tip @Techmeme" or "Tip @TechmemeFH" and the URL appear somewhere in the tweet. Tips will be processed through a combination of automated and manual means, and if you were the first person to tip Techmeme about a story url, your Twitter id will be credited on the homepage of Techmeme if the story is posted. The credit will appear beneath the posted headline, after "Discussion" links. Look for the word "Thanks":

This raises a bunch of questions so it's now Q&A time:

Q: Will Techmeme understand URL shorteners like

A: Yep, we'll grab the target URL for the most common shorteners such as,,, etc. Just avoid the ones that use frames, like

Q: Won't you be spammed? What if someone "tips" Techmeme with a large number of headlines indescriminately, aiming to get lucky with one of them?

A: You should only submit urls if you feel Techmeme would undoubtedly improve should the news appear. Most people only encounter such stories a few times a week. Accounts determined to be spamming will be quietly ignored and never credited for their tips. Also, Twitter accounts created mainly for the purpose of sending tips will be ignored.

Q: Can I "Tip @Techmeme" with my own story?

A: This is acceptable, but only rarely. If you know you're sitting on a remarkable story that Techmeme would be poorer without, go right ahead. In general though, tips to other people's stories appear more credible than tips to your own.

Q: How does Techmeme find these tips?

A: We're using the standard Twitter Search API. Techmeme will promptly find your tips as long as this API continues functioning reliably. To date, we've been encouraged with its performance.

We hope supporting tips will make Techmeme a bit more comprehensive and responsive in the future and look forward to extending public "Thanks" to Techmeme's tipsters. Now don't forget to follow TechmemeFH or Techmeme.

Naturally, you can find Techmeme's Gabe Rivera (warning: entrails pictured in background), Megan McCarthy and Omer Horvitz on Twitter.

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