Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's not a shooter, it's a camera!

Is that a camera or a shooter? Tech writers, listen up.

I go through a lot of tech news (often through apps like Appy Geek), and as such I read a lot of smartphone reviews. One thing that I have been seeing a lot lately is writers who feel the need to come up with random synonyms when describing a smartphone.

One of the worst examples of these I've seen lately is writers who use the word shooter instead of camera when referring to a smartphone's camera. For example, they'll say something like "the iPhone as an 8 megapixel camera on the back and a forward facing 1.3 megapixel shooter on the front."

Why is that sort of jargon necessary? Will people really get annoyed at the use of the word camera multiple times in a sentence? Besides, the word shooter itself has so many other meanings that it's a poor word to choose to describe a camera in the first place. In my mind it conjures up images of a guy firing a sniper rifle or any gun in general, Indeed, I doubt most people think of a camera first when they hear the word shooter.

So why do they use it? Likely because its use has become so widespread throughout the tech website ecosystem that writers have latched onto it due to a sense of familiarity. Tech writers probably read their contemporary's work often, and therefore the frequent use of the word shooter was bound to be absorbed into their collective writing consciousness.

This seems like a petty issue to become annoyed over, but it just seems entirely superfluous to me to call a camera something other than a camera, especially when it is so unnecessary. I can understand using Cupertino to describe Apple and slate to describe a smartphone (though the latter is getting close to overuse as well), but camera is such an unobtrusive and underused word in tech articles anyways that it seems a bit excessive to start swapping it out for the weak synonym like shooter.

So please tech writers, stop saying shooter when you are referring to a camera. It's a damn camera, call it what it is!

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About The Author

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Nicholas Garcia (M.A.) is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Davis. He is also a Co-Founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. Previously, he contributed to and the Davis Humanities Institute.