Objectivity and the rise of online forums

Objectivity and the rise of online forums

Summary: Last week, I met a guy who was operating an online car blog. What he told me during that meeting made me reflect how online forums, or Web 2.


Last week, I met a guy who was operating an online car blog. What he told me during that meeting made me reflect how online forums, or Web 2.0 technologies in general, are affecting the way consumers buy and the way the media deliver information to the public.

Prospective car buyers, he said, are flocking in huge numbers to online discussion rooms to fish out vital information on the car they are planning to buy instead of just relying on automobile reviews written by motoring journalists.

"People are not stupid to buy something that it is worth millions of pesos just because someone had written in a newspaper or magazine that this car is good because he or she had driven it for a few days," he told me.

Consumers, he added, are now are more discerning and want to get the opinion of a larger number of people. "They put a premium on the feedback from the actual owners of the car models, because it is them who can give an objective appraisal of the advantages and disadvantages of the product," he said.

At the risk sounding like a hypocrite and incurring the ire of fellow journalists, I should say that I concur with what the car blogger told me. This is also the reason why I've also stopped reviewing IT gadgets for about four years now. Now, I usually do just a write-up of a product and let others get or try it for themselves.

Even if I've been writing about technology for eight years now, I still feel inadequate in judging if a device is a lemon or not. I certainly don't want to project a know-it-all attitude when in fact, I'm just as ignorant as the guy sitting next to me.

Moreover, it's quite difficult to judge if this phone or that laptop is a five-star technology if the vendor of that product loaned it to me for just a couple of days. And of course, if you write something awful about it, there's always the possibility that you won't be able to lay your hands on a similar gadget again.

But hey, this is just my opinion. Perhaps there would still be a need for advance reviews for various kinds of products, including cars and technology products, to warn the public against cheats and purveyors of poor quality.

The only difference now is that we have online forums. And we should be thankful for that.

Topics: Enterprise 2.0, Emerging Tech, Hardware, Laptops, IT Employment

Melvin G. Calimag

About Melvin G. Calimag

Melvin G. Calimag is currently the executive editor of an IT news website in the Philippines. Melvin has been covering the local IT beat for the last 13 years. He is currently a board member at the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress), and also serves as a charter member with the Philippine Science Journalists Association.

Joel D. Pinaroc

About Joel D. Pinaroc

Joel has been a media practitioner since 1996, starting off as a reporter and eventually becoming editor of a pioneering IT trade newspaper in Manila. He is currently one of the content producers of a Manila-based developmental website.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Objectivity and the rise of online forums

    Online, there's another term they use collectively for that - it's called 'social media'. Good b*ll sh*t detector in this day and age.

  • Professionals will always be needed

    While good information can be found in forums from actual users, there is also a lot of garbage. Moreover, amassing the information from dozens of users takes forever. I think there will always be a role to play for professional journalists, who may increasingly find that their job involves filtering the online information and writing it up into a concise and easily digestible package, in a magazine or newspaper. The online forums are not competition for journalists, but an added resource for them to utilize.
  • Objectivity and the rise of online forums

    Hi Nick,
    You raised very good points. Thanks for the comment