I have been seeing more and more reports that writers, reviewers and bloggers are by and large useless where it comes to real news about the tech industry and this failed reporting on the iPhone ap Meerkat is a perfect example.
Tero Kuittinen has a great synopsis on how the tech media reported on the Meerkat streaming media iPhone ap touting it as the next big thing in social media despite that the ap never once got into the top 100 for sales of iPhone aps.
Kuittinen points out that the reportage on Meerkat was a feeding frenzy with one tech writer feeding off another quite despite the fact that the very phone ap they were over the moon about was never the smash hit they were claiming it was.
But even as Meerkat was announcing a $14 million cash infusion by investors, a rial ap debuted that buried Meerkat instantly.
By Sunday night, the consumer reaction to the Periscope-Meerkat rivalry was brutally lopsided. Twitter’s Periscope app had become a smash hit, breaking into the U.S. iPhone top-30 chart by Friday night. This is a rare feat for a social media app, and it demonstrated that Periscope had immediate and broad consumer appeal.
In stunning contrast, Meerkat crumpled like a wet napkin as soon as Twitter’s rival app debuted. By Sunday at 7:00 p.m., Meerkat had collapsed to No. 523 on the U.S. iPhone download chart.
The closest that Meerkat ever got to a top downloaded at was when it it 140 on the download chart. But that was momentary as it has been far, far below that for most of its existence. In fact, now it doesn’t even show up in the top 500 aps!
Note how Kuittinen describes many tech writers…
Writing about the mobile app industry is a curious niche; you don’t actually have to understand download statistics, different product segments or other industry fundamentals. Unlike movies, fashion, cars or the book industry, you don’t have to focus on products that possess real consumer appeal. In the United States, app industry reporters can simply choose to cover an app their buddies claim is cool and then prioritize the 200th most popular app in the country over apps that have actual heft and significance.
It seems that “reporting” is simply not a requirement in tech media. Just being part of the kewel crowd is all you need to be a “successful” tech writer.
This is all an utter failure to inform, sadly. If tech writers aren’t really using actual sales statistics (or real download stats), then any “kewel new ap” stories should be seen as propaganda and not news.
Add this to complaints that so many tech writers are indulging leftist political agendas instead of actually writing about tech and you get a media that is failing to serve its readers.