Fanboys, Wrestling, and Apple.

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Anyone who spends any time on the internet has had experience with product fanboys. You see them everywhere. You have the Sony Playstation vs. Microsoft Xbox fanboys. You have Gran Turismo vs. Forza fanboys. You have Chevy vs. Ford vs. Import fanboys. There are WWE vs. TNA fanboys. This post is going to pertain to the Apple vs. Android fanboys.

Where do you draw the line between fan and annoying, obnoxious fanboy? It’s actually rather simple: When you are reading forum or post comments, the people so angrily calling people fanboys or sheep are, in fact, the actual fanboys. It’s not all that surprising when you think about it. Keep reading to see why.

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say that PWTorch, a professional wrestling news site, posts the ratings for TNA Impact’s Thursday night show. There are several commenters that are huge TNA fans and just can’t stand WWE. This alone is fine and I can even relate to it (I hated WCW, but loved ECW and WWF. I hate the New England Patriots, but love the Miami Dolphins). TNA usually has low ratings, but this time they’re lower than usual. The original poster will make a comment along the lines of, “This has to be a disappointment for TNA as they are below average, key demographics are slightly down…” The TNA fanboy reads this and sees bias. It’s kind of like politics, where a news story that reports news that people don’t want to hear is considered ‘biased’ by one person and fair by another. Anyway, to the TNA fanboys, saying that it must be a disappointment means that the original poster, and by affiliation, the entire website, must be a bunch of WWE fanboys. That’s a huge leap to get to that conclusion, but that’s the spark.

They so desperately need good news regarding ratings that any bad news, no matter how factual, comes as an insult. They KNOW they’re hopelessly devoted – and that’s totally fine! It is totally, 100% fine to be devoted to a product you genuinely enjoy or are passionate about even if it performs badly (i.e. Cleveland Browns or Chicago Cubs fans, people who bought a Blackberry Playbook). That’s not good enough for the fanboy, though. Their love and devotion to a product doesn’t just stop at that, it becomes an issue of superiority. They truly believe that they are more enlightened and better than a WWE fan – and this makes them feel better about themselves and how they act. They believe that their brand affiliation puts them on a higher level. As it relates to politics, have you ever noticed that very liberal commentators like to flaunt their level or place of education before interpreting politics? They attempt to put themselves on a higher level in order to feel superior. Back to the example, that delusion leads them to think that ANYONE who so much as says ANYTHING positive about WWE or negative about TNA is a wretched fanboy who clearly has no idea what they’re talking about.

Why? It’s because, in their mind, they are more intelligent and educated about wrestling than you and you are dead wrong. This is just them projecting their obvious fanboyism onto other people to draw the attention away from any honest discussion about facts and pulling you right into a pissing match. Who wins a pissing match? No one wins. Ah, but the fanboy will always win because the fanboy thinks that whoever gets the last word wins the debate. Any attempt to draw attention to it elicits a string of insults or a 1,000 word diatribe against all that’s wrong with WWE and all that unfair to TNA. Of course, you aren’t going to respond, so you lose. They aren’t stupid – they know those ratings suck. They know there might not be a huge audience that enjoys the product. Someone could make a simple joke and the pile-on will begin. Just read along next time you see it. The biggest fanboy will immediately focus on calling all the dissenters fanboys to try to discredit them, but in doing so, will totally out him/herself.

This leads me to my original point. Apple vs. Android. I bought an original iPhone in 2007. This was back when it was new and, well – kind of shitty and expensive (compared to today). Sure, there were Blackberries (not available on AT&T at the time. At least the one I wanted wasn’t available, rather) and there were those Palm phones with a stylus pen, which I didn’t want either. Out of nowhere came the iPhone. I went to AT&T and played with one and I wasn’t sure if I liked it. I wanted a physical keyboard in addition to the touchscreen. Every touchscreen I had ever used had sucked and I was instantly impressed with how well the iPhone screen worked. Actually, I was pretty blown away by it at the time. Because of that, I pulled the trigger on a 4GB iPhone and I was pretty happy with it. Sure, looking back, the EDGE network was painfully slow and miserable and there was no cut and paste. No Siri or real GPS. The camera was so-so, no Facetime – I don’t even think it had a flash. There was no massive App Store initially. It was just completely different at the time. Everything was either still a flip phone, a slider phone, or Blackberry style.

So, I bought it and I ended up liking it. Since I had to pay full price for the unsubsidized phone, when the iPhone 3G came out, AT&T ‘allowed’ me to upgrade a year early and purchase it at a subsidized price. I skipped the 3GS, but purchased an iPhone 4. I skipped the 4S and opted to wait for the iPhone 5. According to the fanboys, that makes me an idiot, Apple fanboy, iSheep, or whatever insults they throw around these days. I’ve used other phones. We used to have a Droid 2 for our other phone (Now an iPhone 4S). I’ve used my Mom’s LG smartphones and now her HTC. I’ve demoed a Galaxy III S at the store. I still prefer my iPhone.

Here’s why I keep buying an iPhone when I upgrade.

  1. I have never had a single software or hardware problem. It’s reliable. It works. I never have to go to a store for service. It feels solid and well-built and not cheap. I love Ford, but I had nothing but problems with my 2 Fords. So, I don’t buy a Ford anymore. This works the same way.
  2. It does everything I need it to do extraordinarily well. I check my e-mail. I have a single e-mail box and I really have no issues with managing it. I go online with the browser and browse sites. I play the occasional game. I text and make calls. I listen to or stream music via Bluetooth. I could keep going, but that’s all I do on the phone: Use apps and do simple tasks. There’s nothing I need to do with my phone that I can’t easily do. That’s a better way of putting it.
  3. It’s small. Even the iPhone 5 is small despite the screen size increase. I think lots of the latest and greatest are too big. I didn’t mind the 3.5” screen. Any larger than 4” and I’ll just buy a tablet.

There are the 3 main reasons I keep buying Apple. They have been reliable for me, they have a simple and easy UI that works extremely well, and the phone isn’t the size of a brick. That’s it. That’s what makes me a fanboy to the Android fanboys. Their phones have better specifications and a larger screen while running Android, so it must be better. Anyone who would choose otherwise must just be a blindly devoted idiot. That’s where the superiority comes in. They would respond to my comment by accusing me of being an Apple snob. I buy a product I like and I’m the idiot. It’s shocking, really. I’ve never thought to call anyone an idiot, fanboy, or attack them over purchasing a non-Apple product – and there lies the difference. For instance, a Lexus is arguably better than a Prius. The Lexus is better in almost every way (styling, luxury, options, comfort, and drivability) except for fuel economy and price. What if the most important thing a person wants in a car is fuel economy and a low price (not unlikely these days)? Does that make them an idiot for buying a Prius, despite the multiple aspects of the Lexus that make it a better car? Of course not! So, why is one person an idiot for buying a phone that meets their needs, when you did exactly the same thing?

So, what is it? Is it jealousy? Most likely not since the iPhone is priced competitively. If they wanted it, they’d buy it. It’s more likely just being a fanboy. In their anti-Apple/pro-Android fanboyism, they desperately want to see Android dominate the entire market completely and Apple is the only realistic threat to their majority. So, Apple must go down as the inferior product. They know that their phone only exists because of Apple’s introduction into the phone market. They know that the iPhone is a very good phone. They know this, but it isn’t how they want it to be, so they denounce it and mock people who dare purchase one.

In fact, I would wager a guess that a large majority of Android fanboys have owned an iPhone in the past and decided that it just got too popular. When kids and grandparents started coming home with them, they weren’t unique anymore. All the sudden, they weren’t the center of attention with their cool phone. What happens if their ridicule is successful? What happens if Apple falls and Android dominates the market completely? Or what if Samsung becomes the manufacturer with the highest market share? It’s easy. The next new thing will come along and all of the pro-Android fanboys will gradually move to anti-Android fanboys because they are so totally above and beyond what everyone else is doing. I’m actually surprised that there hasn’t been a push against Android by the fanboys since most phones nowadays are running Android.

It kind of reminds me of the old days when I’d run AMD processors in my computers. All the Intel people called me an idiot because their P4 chips were sporting much higher clock rates and better specs, but my lowly AMD could still hold its own or outperform them. I bought the more expensive AMD because I did think it was a better, more reliable product. Times have changed, though. I now run an AMD because it’s the cheapest option, but I know Intel has the better hardware today. There’s the key – I know Intel is better today and I’ll readily admit it.

The rage always hits its peak during iPhone launches. The fanboys have a field day mocking those poor, idiotic Apple fanboys for being excited about it. People who are very passionate about their phones are mocking people who are very passionate about their phones. Just lighten up. It is exciting and it’s kind of fun. If you’ve been reading along, you know why they’re so mad. They know that despite Android’s massive market share, the iPhone is still the top selling phone. Therefore, they know that the iPhone will set sales records and they will have to read it. Since this is going to be factual news they don’t want to read, they will once again just disparage and mock people to distract from it. They’ll mock the iSheep for lining up, but not the line outside for a concert or a movie. They aren’t mocking the lines of people for game releases. Nope, because they like that stuff, so it’s OK. So long as it’s a product they like, it’s totally fine to be excited.

If you’ve read this far, you probably realize you can substitute almost anything that people fight over instead of Apple vs. Android and apply this rationale. Let me again make it clear that there are fans and there are fanboys. Fans can discuss products and have civilized conversations and mutual respect. For instance, I’m a Ford fan, but will agree that the Camaro ZL1 is an impressive machine – even though it causes me chest pain to say it. Fanboys cannot have civilized discussions.

What people need to realize is that it’s usually just a personal choice. There will always be dumb trolls on either side to start a flame war, but it’s really a personal choice. It’s a phone. It does phone things. I like how it does its phone things. I buy it with my money. Sometimes, it’s just that simple.

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