Tech journalism? I quit. Writing about technology? I’m not going anywhere…

Tech journalism? I quit. Writing about technology? I’m not going anywhere…

I went mad in public yesterday – not for the first time – and declared my resignation from tech journalism, effective immediately.

A lot of people – both colleagues I respect and jabber-jawed idiots that I don’t – thought I was being knee jerk about one thing – a Macalope article throwing lazy punches at my piece on Apple coverage from earlier this week.

But that’s not it.

I didn’t explode because of that single piece. It’s just the latest fart in a cloud of noxious gas that’s left me wanting to entirely reject the notion of being ‘a tech writer.’

Being a ‘tech writer’ tends to mean buying into a certain set of orthodoxies, being willing to say some things and keep others locked up, because, if you articulate them, that will lead to a lack of access and, as night follows day, a drop in traffic.

I’m indulging in hyperbole to a certain extent when I say, “I quit being a tech journalist.” I’m not quitting writing about technology because, just as all writing is political, whether explicitly or implicitly, almost all writing today is about technology.

The effects, both obvious and subtle, of technology are behind practically all of the interesting stories that float across the wires. It’s technology driving the way we relate to each other, changing our society for good and for ill. It’s technology that can destroy us and save us in equal measure.

But just as I came to reject the ‘speeds and feeds’ feature focus of gadget journalism when I started my tech writing career at ‘Stuff’ magazine, I’ve come to despise what ‘tech writing’ means.

Of course there are lots of brilliant writers on technology out there at everywhere from The Verge and Engadget (and, of course, right here at The Next Web) to independent operators like Gruber and Merlin Mann (who definitely doesn’t see himself as a ‘tech blogger’).

But the label of ‘tech blogger’ leads to a sickness, a compromise.

Why did I particularly hate that Macalope article? Not because it knocked my ego – though, of course it did – but because I hate bullies and anonymous writing from a publication that should know better is pathetic.

I know who the Macalope is. He offered to tell me, but I already know. That’s not the point. It’s the mask of anonymity that allows him to pick at other professionals trying to do their best, to say what they think about Apple and the way we write about big companies.

Fair’s fair, writing in the early hours, I mistakenly made Tim Cook a Texan.

If that one error – swiftly corrected – makes you think my credibility is holed below the waterline, I don’t need or want you as a reader. Go back to the glass house, with your perfect glass family, and make sweet love to your own cracked ego.

Tim Cook responds to @brokenbottleboy's writing
Tim Cook responds to @brokenbottleboy’s writing

There you go, my resignation from ‘tech journalism’, but not tech writing. Writing is what I love. And none of you can undermine that, no matter how many pissy little tweets you send, no matter how many outright threats you drop in my inbox.

Imagine being the ‘fake’ Jony Ive. What a fulfilling life that must be.

Feature image credit: ‘Eazy E’ from ‘Straight Outta Compton’ © Universal Pictures 

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