Sites that help you find hot topics across the Web

Looking for the next big thing on the Web? These sites will help you find what you're looking for on topics ranging from tech to politics to fashion.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
5 min read

The Web is a great place to learn about hot topics, but Internet memes can't be spotted so easily unless you have some help. On topics ranging from tech to general interest, you can find what's hot at any moment with the following resources.

Find your memes

Blogrunner The New York Times' Blogrunner sifts through all the news hitting blogs across the Web, finds the hot topics, and lists them on the site. The most popular stories at the time are listed at the top of the Blogrunner page. Those that are either older or on their way up are listed below the top stories.

I was happy with the amount of content Blogrunner provides. Unlike some sites that focus solely on one topic, Blogrunner lists politics, world news, tech news, religion, and several other topics to find the hot stories in each category. Sifting through the stories is simple. And thanks to a fine design, you should be happy with the experience. It's not the best tool in this roundup, but it's pretty good.

BuzzFeed is filled with funny or outrageous videos and images. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

BuzzFeed BuzzFeed is a user-generated topic finder. The site asks its users to find funny, outrageous, or interesting content across the Web that appeals to a wider audience. The topics they find should have the goal of starting a meme on the Web.

BuzzFeed is filled with funny or outrageous videos and images. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but if you're trying to find the hottest news at any moment, you probably won't have much luck with BuzzFeed. If you're just looking for some entertainment, you might like BuzzFeed. Your mileage will vary.

BuzzFeed shows off some hot topics at any time. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Megite Megite is a meme tracker that finds the hottest topics at any time in a variety of categories, including technology, politics, sports, business, and entertainment. The site lists each story based on how many blogs across the Web are discussing the topic. So if a particular topic has a lot of discussion surrounding it, it will be listed first on the list.

By arranging stories in a numbered list, it does make it more difficult to quickly find topics, since you'll need to scroll down the page just to find other stories. But since Megite finds so many interesting stories on each topic, you probably won't be too upset with how it works. That said, I do think its design needs a refresh.

Megite has an awkward design, but a lot of content. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

N4G N4G sifts through all the gaming news hitting the Web and brings it back to the site for readers to check out. It uses a temperature rating to show how hot a particular topic is. The higher the temperature, the more popular the story. The top stories get special treatment with images and their headline overlaying those images. When you click on one of the stories, you'll be brought to a page that has a brief synopsis of the story. If you want to read the full article, you can click on the link provided after that synopsis. It's not the most convenient feature, but considering N4G has so much great content, you'll probably get past it. I really like N4G. Check it out.

N4G is a great site for finding video game news. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Newser Newser's listing of hot topics is much different than any other service in this roundup. Instead of providing a headline and discussions, Newser features a collage of pictures with their headlines on each. When you click on one of those pictures, you'll be brought to a synopsis written by the Newser staff to give you the basic news. If you want to learn more or the summary didn't satisfy you, Newser provides the source link to see the original page. It's not the most useful service in this roundup, especially considering you might want to get to the original document quickly. Consider Newser a last resort.

Newser shows the hot topics in a different way. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Newspond Newspond takes aim at Techmeme with a service that finds the hottest stories on topics ranging from tech to video games to science. The site is, admittedly, for the geek. And that's precisely why I like it so much.

Unlike Techmeme, which has some editorial influence, Newspond doesn't. The app uses its own algorithm to find important stories from across the Web. It uses a "buoyancy rating" to show how hot a topic is. The higher the buoyancy, the higher its placement on the site. Newspond's topics tend to be up-to-date and its sources are broad. Combine that with a nice design and you'll find a useful site for finding all the latest news on topics you care about.

Newspond finds topics on tech, science, and gaming. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Techmeme Techmeme is one of the most prominent trackers of hot topics on the Web. Instead of focusing on so many different topics, Techmeme sticks to technology. So, if you're looking to find information on social networks or gadgetry, Techmeme is for you.

Overall, Techmeme's design is average. It's not too difficult to maneuver around, but it's not all that nice either. Techmeme's topics are decided by what the trending stories are at the time, but the site does have an editorial influence. It caught heat when that was first announced, but for the most part, story selection seems to be spot-on with what's important in the industry at any moment. One of Techmeme's nicest features allows you to see the site's headlines at any time. So if you want to see what was hot at noon yesterday, you can. It's a great feature.

I like Techmeme. It's one of the most popular sites in this roundup for a reason. I just wish its design was a little nicer.

Techmeme lists the hottest stories at any given time. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Technorati Although Technorati is best known for being a blog directory, it doubles as a great place to find out what's hot in the blogosphere.

Technorati's "Percolator" feature lets you know what's "percolating right now." It displays all the topics that are being discussed in the blogosphere at any time on topics ranging from politics, finance, and tech to IT and gadgetry. The site's listing of blogs will bring you to several different sites. That said, I was a little displeased with how much content the site packs into such a small space. You'll find several news stories, but unfortunately, it's tough to read through them due to the sheer quantity of stories on the site. It's not a bad resource, but it's certainly not the best service in this roundup.

Technorati delivers too much content in a small space. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

TweetMeme TweetMeme is a great site. The service sifts through all the trending topics on Twitter and posts them on the site for you to check out. Whether it's political news or tech topics, TweetMeme finds those stories that are hot on Twitter and aggregates them to make it nice and easy to check them out.

TweetMeme's design is stellar. Finding the topics you care about is quick and easy. If you're looking for photos or videos, TweetMeme even provides that. Think Techmeme, but for Twitter. With a retweet button. And better. It's a great site.

TweetMeme finds the hot topics on Twitter and even lets you retweet them. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top 3

1. TweetMeme: With so much great content and a nice design, TweetMeme is a great way to find out what's hot in today's news.

2. Techmeme: Techmeme is a really nice site with some features that make it extremely valuable for research purposes.

3. N4G: If you want to check out some hot video game news from around the Web, N4G is for you.