Technology reporting has a strange problem. No, I’m not talking about the lack of ethics in video game journalism — because that’s you know, a questionable stance already. Instead, I’m talking about technology writers trying to put themselves in your shoes and then judging the rest of the world based on what they think you think.
To be clear, empathy is never a bad thing. In fact, most of the times you encounter it, it’s a good thing. We’re all trying so hard to be the advocate for the consumer. We all want to be that one guy who can interpret what real people out there really need. If we can succeed, there’s this sense that every piece of technology that makes it out to normal people will be better.
More and more, I’m noticing that this customer advocate mandate is part of the problem. Consider Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system. I’m not a fan of Windows 10. I’m testing the operating system right now and I don’t like the way it changes the touch-centric portions of the operating system.
The Places and Most Used areas on the Start Menu are great for users in tablet mode. I think they look like a giant eye sore for anyone in tablet mode. Right now, I’m looking at a Taskbar that looks better than its counterpart in past versions, but shows up even when I’m in Tablet Mode. If Microsoft planned to release Windows 10 exactly the way it is available today it’d be a bit too hair to find the Settings area, in my opinion.
In a world where everyone has access to technology, those who care the most can experience what is coming next for themselves. What’s more, when a beta of something is done right they can have a lasting impact on the final version before release. I think too often the technology elite focus on trying to get in the mindset of a “real user.”
I’ll never be able to see a Assassin’s Creed Unity exactly the way you see it. I’ll never be able to understand what it is you might have liked about The Interview completely. That’s something only you can do. My usage habits might be similar, but chances are I’ll never use Windows 10 the same way you do. I think it’s time to reframe the argument that gets made in most tech reporting. Culture critics aren’t obsessed with framing their reviews in experience around the thought process of someone else. To them, a bad movie is a bad movie.
Maybe, that’s what we should head towards. Forget qualifying your opinions with whatever real-world data you can fill a single paragraph with. Instead, what about embracing the unique you. What about understanding that you are unique, you’ll never infinitely understand everything. How about judging something based on whether its good?