This is part one in a three-part series. The first observes on criticism towards brands, the second on criticism towards design, and the third engages on the state of design criticism.
Criticism, by its very name, rings certain confusion in the practice of 21st century communication. With the arrival (and protection) of web anonymity, it is easy to see how criticism borders the line in misrepresenting itself with ‘personal attacks’. In comparison, the nature of criticizing (regardless of political, literary, or art disciplines) in its early years was solely presented as an engagement channel to debate with good intentions and positive discernment towards a common objective. But with the current conquest of technology in our daily communication, the art of critique, once deemed necessary to have professional knowledge in understanding criticism, has been despairingly reduced to ‘assumed negativity’ and ‘expressions of discontent’. Needless to say, the empowerment of technology enables anyone to be a critic today.
In describing the exploitations behind online criticism, one article lashes out at the social media bullies by equating their intimidation to cries for attention. The article, albeit crudely written, brings to light an unsettling observation where online petitions, blog posts, tweets and status updates hold authority over companies and brand acumen, but grazes partially on the damage of ‘finding faults’ being done to brands. To sum things up, criticism today is as simple as typing, “I don’t like this” into a comment box or hitting a ‘dislike’ button.
Criticism today, is an impulse to be heard.
Part One: Brands
While the stories behind strong companies/brands of today (Nike, McDonald’s, BBC, etc.) are largely attributed to successful communications between bold approaches (staying resilient, non-conforming) and confident thinking (belief in the brand), the shrinkage in today’s attention span is slated to force them in rapidly molding their marketing strategies, often to consumers’ obtuse preferences. And the University of California is one such case.