Thoughts that come from the Fire.

I'm way out of my league when it comes to picking apart product design. But I'm surely in the vast population of those who know what they like and speak freely about what that is. Recently, I've wandered edge-of-the-puddle deep into dissecting what can really only be called "fashion" from the point of view of design and the resulting way those "products" are marketed. I'm a total newbie in this role. Still, I know what I like. In an age where essentially anonymous opinions can be amplified through comment boards and endless online avenues for venting, the people responsible for such designs seemingly must always be on guard. I bring it up in response to an article in today's NYTimes featuring reactions to Amazon's new Kindle Fire. I can't say much about the Fire. Yet. I do have a prior generation of the Kindle because I consider it essential for any writer who hopes to sell any books electronically to understand how things work with these devices. No one should really care about which devices an individual actually has and uses. Right? Well, if you comment aggressively on certain products and the pluses and minuses of how they are designed, your possession of those objects can indeed be seriously amplified. Today's Times piece was fascinating because it came largely from the spectacle of new Fire owners commenting on Amazon about this new thing they recently bought. As a practice, this is surely nothing new. I am, however, the kind of shopper who looks at reviews rather closely for details - performance, feel, value, all the self-defined metrics without a specific scale other than "feel". Seeing how Amazon is reacting and how that was tagged as "news" today made me instead think about other products. Like the ones I'm considering for this book. Fashion, in all its hard to quantify terms. What if ubiquitous fashion trends had a similar portal for loving or loathing? Ugg boots, for example. Or dyed mink coats. Or trucker hats. This largely nameless, faceless "commentariat" picking apart product designs has power. Maybe it's always been out there somewhere. Maybe I need to find design sites that feature reviews of fashion trends or products - new or way old school. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Then again, maybe it's a collective load of crap. Powerful, disproportionately influential crap.