I’m tired and bored with the raging debate on the minutiae of Antennagate, so I thought I’d write up some final thoughts on the whole debacle and leave the dead horse for someone else to beat.
Sure, we’re here to get pageviews just like everyone else, but at some point a line is drawn in the sand, and some people hit it running full steam ahead. There’s not much left to be said about Antennagate, and yet every pundit and wannabe pundit seems to find some crack in the armour so small, that they continue with sensationalizing this crap over and over and over.
I’m over it. Here’s why.
I haven’t read one legitimate new opinion on this whole debacle for well over a week now, and yet, the same crap keeps cramping up my rss feed. The one thing that put me over the edge was the TechCrunchTV video with Jon Gruber, MG Siegler, Arrington, and Kincaid. The video had potential to really put this whole raging debate to rest, but instead comprised of Arrington acting like Arrington, and Siegler and Gruber sitting dumbfounded by the ridiculous comments coming out of Arrington. Sure, he may have been playing devil’s advocate, but it’s hard to believe anything that came out of his mouth after he said that the iPhone is a phone that doesn’t make calls. If there was ever an inaccurate blanket statement, that might be it. The sad thing was Kincaid had some excellent comments and questions for MG Siegler and Gruber, but instead we got to witness Arrington talking over him and trying to “lawyer” Gruber and Siegler into an intervention. It bordered on embarrassing. But, I can’t for one second blame Arrington. He knows how to get pageviews, and he’s certainly getting them now. And, he’s certainly not alone. Every tech blog on the planet has been beating this horse for 22 days. There’s only so many times you can say the same thing in different ways before everyone realizes what’s going on, and that’s been the case here.
There’s a second reason I’m over it.
I made a calculated decision during the announcement to not write up any posts until the media event was over. We probably lost out on a lot of traffic, but I noticed pretty quickly that others were posting headlines with one sentence of content, publishing the articles, and then filling in the content later. There’s a reason they do this. They’re trying to get their articles around social media sites, google news, and blogs before anyone else. But, we’re not that guy. I don’t see the value in abusing our readers with 15 posts in one hour, in each, a sentence or two. It’s ridiculous.
Apple told us what they’re going to do, now let’s see how it plays out
Everyone wants to knock the top dog on the playground down a peg or two during recess, but even that top dog gets a reprise from the recess-beating during class time. This hasn’t been the case for Apple, nor do we expect it to let up any time soon. We saw this coming right after Gizmodo purchased a stolen phone. Every subsequent Apple article was written in a negative context, pushing an anti-Apple agenda. They have the right to write whatever they want, and I could honestly care less about what they say, but they have influence over the tech world, whether we like to admit it or not. It doesn’t take long for people to jump on the bandwagon for negative stories. A single negative story from an influential source can have a snowball effect, flooding the Internet with thousands of similarly toned articles.
The next time you read an article about Antennagate, I’d ask you to take a moment and critically evaluate what they’re saying. Are they saying anything at all? Are they regurgitating someone else’s viewpoints, or are they adding to the commentary? If it’s a regurgitation, you might want to take a moment and remove them from your RSS feed. Anyone can copy and paste someone else’s thoughts, but very few in this industry seem able to come up with original thoughts. If there’s one thing I can promise to you guys, the readers, it’s that we’re trying hard to create unique commentaries on our posts. Sure, sometimes we fall short, be we recommit to being better every week.
Bullshit headlines that really mean nothing
There’s nothing that pisses me off more than misleading headlines. We’re as guilty as everyone else, but we try to minimize it. Sometimes we even unintentionally post a headline that’s misleading. This particular article, titled, “Steve Jobs confirms: Android outselling iPhone,” is a prime example of everything I’ve talked about in this post. Steve Jobs didn’t confirm anything about Android in his keynote, outside of stating iPhone 4 sales. To pretend that he did is putting words in his mouth, and more importantly, making it the title of your post is outright irresponsible. While this article doesn’t particularly fit with the Antennagate topic, it certainly illustrates how far media reaches to establish a story. It’s been happening a lot since the iPhone 4 release, and it’s getting really old, really quickly.
We might not write 20+ articles a day for you guys, but we certainly only pass on things we think you’ll care about. We also try and combine topics into one post. We try to tell the whole story in a complete format. We don’t do episodic content like some of these other websites. A misleading headline means your article is already beginning out of context, and I’d argue that this is why Antennagate blew up. People who know absolutely nothing about attenuation, or who weren’t engineers were trying to explain things that they know nothing about. You can only boil a point down so many times before the real point gets lost entirely. When that happens, everyone’s left grasping for straws.
The valley isn’t representative of the world
As hard as it is to realize, San Francisco and the rest of Silicon Valley isn’t representative of the world as a whole. While I’m reluctant to point the finger at AT&T for this whole thing, I do find it rather interesting to note that there hasn’t been nearly the same kind of public outcry in Europe or other initial launch countries. People have noticed that a death grip lowers signal strength, but the dropped calls problem just doesn’t seem to be an issue for most. I can’t comment fully on this because the iPhone 4 hasn’t been released in Canada yet, but I’m certainly eagerly anticipating trying it out around town. I know Apple’s been singing the praises of AT&T lately, but this certainly would have been an excellent time to do some international research on the issue. Sadly, the technology echo chamber begins in the Valley and extends around the globe, but it sure would be nice if tech writers would take a moment, remove themselves from their personal surroundings, and figure out if this antenna is a problem for anyone else outside of the US. It would certainly provide some perspective on this whole problem, and it would accurately let them point the finger at the appropriate parties. But, that requires work, and it’s hard to do that when you’re busy concocting fallacious headlines, posting two sentence articles, and pimping them around social media sites.