Rumors and Leaks – Do We Really Need Them?

Are you an “insider”? Do you sign up for newsletters and online posts that claim to provide you with the latest “scuttlebutt” on what’s happening in technology? Do you eagerly absorb each one, hungry for that smallest detail? Do you politely argue with the creators that what they say is not the full picture, or could not possibly be true, or makes no sense if it was true?

I’m discovering that some of the most successful online posts and videos are about, well really, nothing. They are someone’s opinion about what we might see next or how the market might drive those choices. Some have gained a reputation for “accuracy”, even if only half of the posted information does come to pass over time.

The bigger issue for me, though, is why we need such “services” at all. I’ll admit that I’ve watched, even subscribed, to some of these sites, but find it more and more annoying to watch each episode – I usually turn it off after a minute or two. Sometimes I skip posts all together. So why do we bother with them?

It seems that we need something to fuss over – as if we don’t already have enough of that in our lives. Most of these posts are designed to elicit a reaction (positive or negative) but mostly negative. People seem to pay more attention if the thing could not possibly be true, or if a benefit/improvement expected after the last “failure” isn’t set to materialize with the next release either.

There’s a theory in psychology about stirring up crowds to a frenzy. This is about how people react and coalesce around some perceived wrong and drive off each other to more and more outrageous commentary or behaviour. That’s what I’m starting to see in these rumor and leak sites. It’s no longer enough to simply report on the rumor. Now, it seems that unless there is an indignant hostility to the reporting, it is just not seen as legitimate.

  • For example: you’ve got to be kidding: they are releasing only a 60 mexapixel camera. Why not 100? Why not more? Doesn’t matter that I personally only shoot for Instagram. I’m upset and that’s all that matters.
  • Or another example: Say what: they plan to include 8K video but only for 30 minutes. Why only 8K? Why not infinite recording time? There’s no way we can survive with only 30 minutes. The world will end. Doesn’t matter that I only shoot for Tik Tok.

Ok, I made both of these up, but they are not far from the truth of what I now see online.

I do acknowledge that there are the services that do the research and appear to use reliable sources. But without independent validation from those sources, these too are just someone’s opinion. Their track records may be better than others, but there really is no reason to believe them any more than anyone else.

And it really does irk me to see others who simply repeat what these other services have researched, without doing any of their own, and offer their often narrow opinions or indignant hostility to the rumor that they still choose to propagate anyway. And, even worse, they make money from doing so.

All that said, it’s also possible that technology makers are fueling part of this trend, looking to build excitement (and get free advertising) for (and investor interest in) their coming products. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see some of the leaks coming from sources sanctioned by the upper management of these companies. It’s a common political trick – release just enough to whet the appetite and see what headlines it can provoke.

And people like me, who work on the retail side of this business, do benefit from some insight into the future plans of the manufacturers. I prefer to get that, though, from the manufacturers themselves, who typically lay out annual roadmaps for their future releases. With this information, we could and should be their second best brand ambassadors, after their pro shooters.

And all that said, at the end of the day, though, I’m left wondering what the real benefit of any of these rumor outlets is. Think about it. So you heard that a new camera or piece of kit is possibly coming – not confirmed, just possible. And maybe it isn’t on the official roadmap or is stated as coming sooner or later than planned.

Does having a rumor really help you make a different or better decision about a future purchase? Not me. Until I can see it, touch it and have actual reviews of performance, I get on with the real business of my day and swat away the rumors like an annoying fly. You might want to as well.