The Toxicity of Rumor Websites
Doing some reading I ran across this podcast, even though it’s mostly surrounding the Sony release of the A6400, they talked a bit about the vitriol that occurred when Sony released the A6400, and there were expectations of something far grander, based upon rumor websites. The podcast was essentially blaming rumor websites for unmanaged expectations of what Sony was going to release, and when these grandiose expectations weren’t met, the internet reacted negatively. Of course, since I run CanonNews, I just had to write up my own 2 cents about this.
I found it interesting because I certainly have seen this happen, especially around the EOS R and the EOS RP releases, where the rumors build up to a fever pitch to the point that the actual release of the camera is anticlimactic to what has transpired the week before. This is especially true for those that have a primary interest in video.
I’d like to think that we try to manage expectations as much as possible when we discuss forward-looking rumors and articles, but it’s a curious dilemma, are sites like this one helping the demise of the market by creating heightened false expectations? I think back to the EOS RP release and when reading forum posts about what people expect, there were certainly some people that expected far more than I ever thought would be possible for Canon to introduce with the EOS RP. For the most part, what Canon released was basically what I thought they would release when the low-cost version of the EOS RF lineup was first rumored. There were certainly some things that we got wrong, such as the new sensor with the anticipated performance of the EOS R versus the 6D Mark II sensor. We should have picked up right from the start that if the camera was going to be $1300 they would re-use an existing sensor and that a new 24MP sensor didn't make a lot of sense, but the 26MP sensor from the 6D Mark II made more sense.
Even with fairly measured rumor articles that we published (and other sites as well), some expected Canon to make the exact model of camera that was suited for them, but at a price far under what it would be possible for Canon to make it for. Essentially they expected something better than the EOS R for $900 less than the EOS R would cost. I recall one user thought for instance, that the EOS RP would shoot RAW 4K video, and was excitedly talking about it as if it was a locked in for sure feature. These types of expectations I really don't think we can manage, and I think these individual expectations would occur with or without rumor websites.
Don’t get me wrong. I want Canon to release a camera with an awesome stacked sensor that makes Canon’s technology sing and work with both video and stills. It will be costly, we may have to pay through the nose for such a sensor and technology, but I’m with you. I want Canon to regain its crown as the best company for imaging and right now they aren’t that. They lack in key technology areas; sensors and processors. Even with that, I can’t expect that every camera released must be suited to me. Canon is annoying good at segmentation. They have to be. They have more camera lines than any other camera company out there.
Ultimately though it is up to the reader to realize what we publish is indeed a lot of the time rumors, and those rumors may be wrong or just not the way you thought they were. A good example is the Sony A6400 release (yes I know this is CANON News), where the rumors suggested it was an A9-like camera but for APS-C. It was “sort of” correct, the A6400 got the same focusing engine as the A9. The rumor wasn’t wrong the interpretation of it was. At times interpretation can make a drastic difference.
Rumor websites have been around since really the dawn of the digital age, and they exist really for almost any technology product as well. I try to focus more on news, patents, and insight and less on rumors, but rumors are a big part of what we do. I think we can be part of the solution by recognizing that we do have responsibility for what we publish and how we manage our reader’s expectations. I don’t think we’re the problem as this podcast mentioned simply because even without us, users would still have expectations of what Canon or any camera company will release. WIthout us, those expectations would be based upon what they want, not what the company can or wants to deliver at that price bracket. If anything, if we do our jobs right, we're part of the solution by creating a space where the expectations are managed a bit better than pure imagination.
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters
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