December 28, 2012

The comments section of every tech blog is now hosting the game of global domination known as “iOS versus Android”.

Team Jacob vs Team Edward
Fan battles: iOS vs Android. Or is it Android vs iOS?

Of course, it’s not just “iOS versus Android”. The technology press is dominated by narratives of battles: “Google versus Apple”, “Microsoft versus Google”, “Amazon versus Google”, “X versus Y” - take your pick.

There is a good reason for this of course - conflict is drama, and people prefer drama over dry, and often inconclusive analysis. Conflict sells. It tells the story of a product’s place in the world. It frames subsequent discussion about that product. It’s the fuel for any number of speculative articles about the future of that product. And, of course, it can whip up some people into a rabid, drooling frenzy: true fans.

The problem when everything is presented as an X vs Y battle is that people stop thinking about all the other options that are either available or could be available, if people demanded them.