Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The Tech Press Can’t Admit to Having Nice Things

Rene Ritchie, iMore:

Pessimism is easy. Hit pieces are easy. Abusing facts to fit a thesis is easy. Manipulation is easy. Looking at the last year and claiming disappointment is easy. Missing constant, relentless evolution if all you’re looking for is occasional revolution is easy. Yet the former can be even more important than the latter. Many leaps end in crash landings. Many innovations fall apart on the launch pad. Good ideas take a lot of little fixes to become truly great. And a lot of little ideas, given enough time and talent, can coalesce into pure magic.

Not everything is amazing, and not everything is crap. The problem is that too many journalists and bloggers try to shoehorn every single event, announcement, or launch into one of those two categories. It’s more nuanced than that.

Christopher Mims’ “Lost Year” article and the responses it begat (yours truly’s included) are examples of this. Mims said “this year was crap,” and a bunch of us replied “no it wasn’t; it was great,” thus entirely missing the point: it’s easy to polarize opinions, but it’s difficult to develop a comprehensive opinion. It requires nuance, but the press — in general — thrives on stories which lack nuance. It requires concentration to understand the intricacies of a situation.

I’ve long had a post in my drafts folder titled “We’re Writing About Cellphones; We Aren’t War Correspondents”. I haven’t been able to finish the post — largely because the title neatly summarizes everything I could say, though it has become something of the credence for Pixel Envy. That’s not to say that writing about tech doesn’t have any gravity or seriousness, but that it should be taken a little more casually unless the circumstances require otherwise. However, let’s also approach these stories with a more thorough analysis in mind than simply “crap” or “stellar”. Too many people have worked too hard for us to dismiss what they’ve done in a single word.