Technology blogging and reporting is a fun job to have. You get to write about cool technology and sometimes even get to test out that technology and sometimes you get to voice your opinion (soapbox). Which brings me to the reason I’m writing this particular opinion piece, tech headlines. I like to call them the “Everything Is Dead” headlines. You know, the ones where the writer calls out X company and explains why Y is going to cause them to die.
These dramatic headlines are gold, especially for the larger sites like The Verge, CNET, Forbes, Engadget etc. etc. Why? Because they cause those of you who are passionate about X company to click, click, click and share. We’ve done our fair share of speculative articles here on Techaeris but one thing we always try and do is not straight up call something dead until it’s actually dead (I’m sure we’ve failed once or twice). Sure we’ve attempted to string together one rumor to the next to perhaps come to a conclusion but we always try and leave it open-ended so that the reader can make their own determination of what may happen to X company and create conversation around that.
In all honesty, dramatic tech headlines move clicks and generate shares which drives traffic to a website. As said before, it generally works better for larger sites with more eyes on them. It gets the community buzzing and wakes them up, one Facebook share turns into a Twitter share which turns into a Reddit share and finally ends up in multiple forums. Mission accomplished. Afterall, a website can’t survive without people reading it and some sites don’t really care how they get that traffic. One of the things that can be frustrating is not labeling these articles as editorials or OP/ED’s. Sometimes users arrive thinking this opinion is actual news.
So how can you tell if the writer is just pushing out a dramatic tech headline or honestly giving a valuable informed opinion? Engagement. If the writer of the article is actively engaging his readers and answering questions and taking input then it’s very likely they are honestly writing something they think is of value. But if you’ve ever cruised through the comments section of an “Everything Is Dead” article, you’ll usually see the author is nowhere to be found. And when they’re non-existent on social media, you know they’re writing to get a rise out of the community. Of course it’s understood that if the comments become overwhelming writers will have a harder time responding to everyone, in that we should give them a break. But engaging at least the first part of the conversation shows that at least they’re willing to listen.
As a writer I want to earn my readers’ trust, I want to engage as much as possible with my audience so they know I am vested in my job. What is my job? My job is providing my readers as much accurate information as possible so they can make their own informed choices. My job is also giving my opinion from time to time but I try and do that in a way that isn’t overly dramatic and “click bait”ish. I completely understand that “Everything Is Dead” articles are essential to the operation of some outlets, some of them wouldn’t be alive if they didn’t publish them. I just hope that what I’ve written here helps you, our readers, understand a bit more of why those articles exist.
We can’t make any promises, because that would be foolish, but we certainly strive to do our best to produce high quality content with factual reporting for you. We won’t always get things right, we’re likely to screw up but we’re also actively engaging with our audience as much as we can. You can always connect with us through the contact form on our site if you ever have questions or think something needs correcting on our site. Thanks for reading!