Nandini YadavOct 15, 2020 13:55:22 IST
If you’ve been on social media at all lately, you've probably seen the "How It Started" vs "How It's Going" meme. This week, while covering the Apple Event and the OnePlus 8T launch, I was struck by how well my (and many other tech journalists’) work-life would fit this meme. And not at all in the Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles way!
How it started:
In the last six years of my career, work meant a gruelling exam-like schedule of events that spread out through the summer and then in the month of October, canonically known as Techtober.
A huge hype-cycle built up of news stories, predictions and analyses.
Late nights at work have been the norm. It was tiring but thrilling.
The most exciting was when you were right there at the event! Grand auditoriums, events that felt like concerts (sometimes there was an actual concert), excited faces, last-minute predictions, meeting up with your friends and ex-colleagues in the industry, hearing a canard, sharing a shu-shu, and the most invigorating was the idea of being one of the first to experience new tech.
At most launch events, there are experience booths where you can briefly use the devices, play around with them, get familiar. I’d usually shoot a quick video with the new device and share my two cents on social.
Tech journalists also tend to travel a lot for these events. For instance, the Apple event happens in Cupertino, Google’s event in San Francisco, Samsung hosts its events in New York.
Then there are the biggest tech conferences at the beginning of every year such as the Mobile World Conference (MWC) that happens in Barcelona, and the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) that takes place in Las Vegas. These are generally three/four-day events and they are a whole new experience. People from all over the world attend these events and brands bring their wares. You meet new people, you eat new food, you experience a whole new world of technology.
How’s it going:
Along came 2020. With the world in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, major tech events are either cancelled or are being conducted virtually — an anomaly in my life as a tech scribe.
Launch events now mean tuning in to a livestream, running a live blog on everything you see happening on the webcast, and then doing an article on the launch. No crowd cheering. No device to experience. Nothing.
Most of these virtual launch events aren’t even live. The vagaries of an overburdened internet mean that it’s usually best to put things together in the best way possible, which means they are often pre-recorded.
Immersion sessions for a device that is about to launch are also virtual now. While brands are doing everything they can to brief us about upcoming devices via video calls, and we usually have the devices in advance, it just doesn’t feel the same anymore.
Covering these events and creating content is also very different, especially when it comes to video. Earlier, we’d have a team and crew working together to create videos; now everyone is a one-person team.
That’s how it was. This is how it’s going. Onward to Techovember.
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