"This report argues that consumer technology reviewers have failed their basic nominal purpose of critiquing tools. Instead, inspired by values introduced by Apple in the late 1990s, the tech review industry prioritizes aesthetic lust as the primary critical factor for evaluating objects. The reification of these values in their scoring system is transmitted to consumers and manufacturers alike. Like other prurient things, the objects designed within this paradigm are optimized not for usefulness but for photogenic and telegenic properties, a framework that finds its fullest realization in YouTube reviews and unboxing videos. There, even the intimation of critical rigor within tech reviewing vanishes, the smartphone becomes the center of gravity, and manufacturers are even further incentivized to design products for end consumers who are less users than viewers."
@rra@robertwgehl Wish it mentioned at least once that the lack of critical review extends all the way to that most basic of things, the business model, and how it entirely leaves out privacy and other human rights considerations but otherwise a really great piece.
@aral@rra@robertwgehl Thanks -- and you're right! But we chose to explore both tech print magazines and youtube influencers. Because of that it was very easy for the scope of this analysis to grow too wide
@aral@rra@robertwgehl We touch on that a bit towards the end of the essay, and reference Gizmodo's loss of access to review units as an example of this relationship between advertising, tech companies and reviewers