Crowdcrit Vs. Apple Maps

The debate over the relative merits of “amateur” (or “citizen,” if you like) critics has meandered on for more than a decade now. Still, there’s a subset of the genre that deserves more attention: you could call it the crowd critique — or let’s just be snappy and say crowdcrit. It roared into view last week in response to Apple’s new iOS 6 Maps app.

Professional critics of course responded to this alternative to Google Maps now being foisted on iOS users — Slate has a a largely negative assessment here, for instance. But the most crushing, and practically instantaneous, critique emerged in the form of a submission-driven Tumblr, The Amazing iOS 6 Maps (“The Apple iOS 6 Maps are amazing. Not”), offering a barrage of glitches, errors, and failures that users have found in scrutinizing the new Maps. As Xeni Jardin observed: “You know you have an issue when someone brews up a Tumblr to mock you.” Very true. This Tumblr began on Thursday and a glance at its archive makes it clear that there was plenty to post from the get-go. Not surprisingly, the Slate review bolstered its case with examples culled from the Tumblr, as well as a Twitter hashtag (#MapsFail). “Users Blast Maps Switch,” the lead story in Friday’sWall Street Journal announced.

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