If you haven’t noticed there is a shift in the tech journalism world going on. It might have been going on for a while without you even realizing what was going on. The popular thing these days is to create a YouTube channel and rant about your speculative head canon. Maybe at first you focus on the companies you favor but later as you notice your viewership grows you branch out and talk about everyone equally. People see that you have a good sub count and then you start getting “sources on the inside”. Popularity grows and journalistic integrity lessens. When it comes to the product launches you cover them but give very incomplete testing because this isn’t your focus. You’d rather just keep on talking about what might or could or has been leaked rather than keep your mouth shut and review products.
My speculation to why this has become more a thing is that we have long dips of interesting things in between product launches. You can’t go silent on YouTube because you got to chase that algorithm, so you start doing this kind of thing. There are channels like AdoredTV, Moore’s Law Is Dead, RedGamingTech and probably more. Not all of them are bad but they are a symptom of a larger problem. The thirst to know more and be the one to claim to of known the things first. We are all enthusiastic about technology and we all have our own ideas at times of how we’d like that technology to go. It’s hard to keep that Ego in check once you develop a following. If you base your entire schtick around speculation you really don’t have anything but Ego at this point. I’ve chosen to stay out of this entire space. My Twitter might occasionally have speculation, but I don’t stand by it and it’s just me spitballin’ ideas. I don’t have an Ego about things related to my technology prediction knowledge, hell, I barely have one about my proficiency as a reviewer which leads to my detriment at times.
YouTubers aren’t the only ones that do this. The senior editor of WCCFTECH, Usman Pirzada, even keeps score of how well his predictions/exclusives do.
I thought it would be fun to take a look at all the exclusives I have posted in the last 2 years or so and give them a score. 1 for true, 0.5 for mostly true and 0 for mostly wrong or completely wrong. :D pic.twitter.com/u1Id0KRzsD— Usman Pirzada (@usmanpirzada) June 11, 2019
This is pure mental masturbation at it’s finest. Solidifying yourself with a score. I’ll define mental masturbation for you quickly:
mental masturbation (uncountable)
- Engaging in intellectually stimulating conversation with little or no practical purpose.
- Thought processes that only serve to satisfy oneself.
Mental masturbation is what a big swath of this whole topic is. In the end the products get released and reviewers test them and that is that. All those articles or videos with you speculating every detail can only serve to bite you in the ass later if you were wrong or strengthening your Ego if you were right. To hear another side to this I have an opinion from “Camacho” in The Chip Collective’s Discord chat on this Tweet.
That seems reasonable at a glance, but it misses the fundamental problem of republishing random rumors with “grain of salt” disclaimers as a substantial portion of total coverage. Maybe there are some true and meaningful scoops carried, but if the bulk of content becomes trash, high accuracy on self-selected “real” stories means less.
If you cover speculative topics you need to know that your audience is dumb as shit. No matter how many times you say “grain of salt” they will defend your honor if they believe you to be correct or devour you whole for being wrong. You also have a right to the public to convince them to not act on anything you say, they won’t listen though. There is a separation between analysis and speculation though. You can analyze hard known details and compare those things against other known details. Speculation involves listening to sources and making educated leaps of faith leading to your own false hard details and specs.
I get down on myself at times because I feel I’m not covering things I should but then I remind myself that what’d I’d be covering isn’t up to the standard of personally collected and verified data. Yeah, I’ll be covering Zen 2 when it drops, I’ll most likely have to buy my own CPU because no company has gotten back to me yet. I’ll be covering whatever Intel comes out with next also, again, self-funded most likely. I’m not sure about any of the Navi GPUs though.
Everybody wants to be mad at something and pick a side about something and here I am just wanting things in my hands so I can test them and display that data to you. Yeah, I’m getting restless waiting for new hardware to come out.
The Chip Collective isn’t dead due to inactivity. There just isn’t anything for me or anybody who writes for me to cover. So, keep your head up, neat stuff will be happening soon.