The research draws from a wide range of material, including twenty-five original, semi-structured interviews conducted in-person or on the phone when possible, otherwise via email. Spoken interviews ran between forty and one hundred and ten minutes, adding up to more than twenty hours in total. I was careful not to prime interviewees with too much background, and I focused discussion around my subjects’ prior experience and expertise. I also used our conversations as a snowballing source for expanding my research materials. I identified interviewees through purposive sampling2 to address a diversity of approaches, voices, and publications that present critical work about technology. I approached critics, journalists, bloggers, and freelance writers of all sorts based on relevant published work across a variety of publications and mediums. I acknowledge a New York media bias in my interviews, which reflects the industry’s concentration. I include a list of interviewees in Appendix C.

Nonreactive3 sources included published articles in the popular press, both on the subject of consumer technologies and about the state of technology writing and thought leadership. I also drew from discussions in conference panels and podcast conversations. Many of these sources are cited throughout, but more can be found in the supplemental syllabus and the more expansive and constantly updated Zotero folder of resources.4

Using standard methods of qualitative analysis, I conducted a close reading of my interview and publication data to surface themes across the material. I was careful to capture and analyze in vivo5 language and ideas.

I present my findings as a montage or bricolage6 of voices and examples, in hopes of addressing the breadth and depth of material that contributes to the wider public discourse about technology. Though not exhaustive, I start with a historical approach to understand how issues covered by technology writing have changed.

The research is informed by existing literature in the fields of science and technology studies, media studies, and the history of technology. These academic literatures inform some of the earliest public thinking about technologies’ social effects, as well as give historical and intellectual precedent to the critical work I examine here. This report also represents an interdisciplinary and intersectional approach to the topic of technology criticism, including ideas from the social science and anthropology of technology, film and media studies, and law and policy of technology.

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