The Negativity Trend

I like to refer to negativity as the “language of the internet” — it oozes from every site you visit, impossible to avoid. Everywhere you look there are people being negative for the sake of being negative and it’s hard not to feel weighed down by it.

I can control what I read but it seems I’ve lost control of what I write. Take a look at my latest article about the Microsoft Surface commercial. This article has an overly negative tone, I seem to think I’m a marketing genius and I know this is a bad move for Microsoft.

Is Microsoft making a mistake? I don’t have a clue and that’s the truth.

I’m not alone in this voice, it seems common in technology writing. If you want to see what I mean, wait for Apple to release a new product or report earnings (they did both this week, lucky us!) then read the articles about it. Without a doubt, several will use the news to predict Apple’s downfall.

It’s no secret that it’s easier — and more fun — to predict doom and gloom; no one seems to get excited about success anymore. Everyone’s on the edge of their seat waiting for a train wreck, ready to cheer and slap each other on the back for having the foresight to predict failure. It’s an ugly place and I found myself standing in the group trying to high-five everyone.

I’m going to put my hand down and leave the party. I’m not even sure how I got here.

This isn’t to say I can’t have an unfavorable opinion but I can be more careful about the voice I use. There’s a big difference between sharing a balanced opinion and focusing only on the negative aspects of everything. An author who practices the latter may find a large audience but they’ll likely be as negative as the writing itself.

I hate to admit it but focusing on the negative is really easy, the stuff practically writes itself. As I write, I imagine other jaded folks reading it with a sneer on their lips. Once they’re finished, we high-five and giggle at how right I was. These days negativity sells and everybody’s buying.

I want to make a change, I need to open my eyes, look past the negativity, and find something that’s actually interesting to talk about. It won’t be easy and there will probably be fewer high-fives but I think it’s necessary. I should aim to produce the same kind of content I like to read, I owe myself that.

I don’t want to be yet another voice gloating over the downfall of others.