Sunday, 20 July 2008

(Column) - It’s true that fanboys, regardless of what company they support, are annoying. Very annoying, in fact. But today, I’m going to side with the Mac Zealots and attempt to see why they behave the way they do. Obviously, this isn’t truly exclusive to Mac users. My theory could be applied to any group that supports a particular company, especially if the company happens to be the underdog in its respective industry. This could be Linux, Apple OS X (i.e., the Mac community), AMD and a plethora of others.

Many of these companies target a very exclusive group of users, and if this group is going to support an underdog product or a platform, then they are naturally going to be very vocal and protective about it. If they want others to join their community (who doesn’t?), then they are going to make sure their voices are heard. As a result, many of them get involved in heated debates to attempt to conform the mainstream users to see their perspective. Even though there’s nothing wrong with that, fanboyism pushes the limit just a tad bit, and that’s what makes the whole concept annoying.

I wouldn’t dare say these groups are insecure. They aren’t. They are just too passionate and out of touch with reality to notice that mainstream users just don’t care about half of the features that make Linux, OS X and AMD a collective group of great products and companies. For mainstream users, price is probably the main deciding factor, and they are only interested in a product that gets the job done. That’s it. No frills or whistles. As long as the PC does what they wish for it to do at a cost effective price point, they have no problem with it whatsoever.

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For fanboys (and I use the term with utmost respect, at least for this article), their appetite to support their favorite company to beat the big, bad corporate heavyweights gets delusional at times. And why not? After all, we all like to cheer the underdog... reasonably. In addition to cheering for the little guy, fanboys also think it’s their responsibility to spread the word about their favorite company. Combine their need to do marketing on behalf of their adopted companies and their products with the passion to make others see things their way, and you have a powerful group of people.

With power comes responsibility, and considering that anonymity is the best feature we have online, it’s difficult to resist the temptation in getting involved with debates every so often. I can’t say I fault the fanboys all too much. Many times they are right, but they just choose to express their liking of a select company in a rather abusive manner that turns off a lot of people.

So, fanboys, take this column as a learning opportunity. Be open to other perspectives (regardless of how asinine they seem to you), and chill out, will ya? You are not going to be able to convert everyone to your favorite company, and at the end of the day, you may be doing more harm than good. To everyone else, let’s give fanboys some breathing room. They need it, as it’s evident by their serious dedication to their favorite companies and their products.

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