This is my Blog, on it I simply write stuff that I feel like writing about. You'll find it heavily slanted towards tech, games, entertainment and the like. I write about other stuff too, and somethings I write about things. I also do photography, the link is on your right.
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Fanboyism. Now there is a touchy subject. Weather you are willing to admit it or not, everybody at some point has had fanboyistic tendencies. Nobody likes to be called one, its mostly used as a derogatory term for an enthusiastic ummm... enthusiast. I guess there a a few people out there that freely admit to it, even wear it proudly on their sleeve, but they are few and far between. There are just so many unflattering adjectives tied to that term. Fanatic, extremist, blind loyalty, irrational, and so on and so forth. Well, I've been doing some ruminating on the subject because it fascinates me to no end. One thing I noticed is that fanboyism is almost always associated with a polarization of two groups, never three of four equally valid camps, but two major dominating factions, with usually some bit players, fringe factions thrown in the mix for flavor. The second thing I noticed is that the concept is almost always applied to brand loyalty, and to be more specific, technology brand loyalty. You almost never see Crest fans and Colgate fans duking it out on message boards, each claiming the their brand kicks the other brands ass at plaque removal. Third, this seems to be a relatively recent trend, I don't recall every hearing stories about people going to war over their favorite brand of transistor radio back in the 50's.
So, what the hell is going on here? Well, I think it is a combination of peoples innate need to group together with like minded people, and modern marketing techniques. The first issue is I think is fairly easy to see, humans have a long and sorted history of polarizing into opposing factions, each side filled with the absolute and complete certainty that they are on the correct side, and can't in fathom how the other side can't see what they see. Just go pick up a book of religious histories of the world and flip through it for a few minutes, I'll wait...........
Ok, you're back, the similarities are a little frightening aren't they? Oh sure, Apple fans aren't burning heretical Android fans alive, but I sure some of them have though about it. I only use Apple and Android in my example because they are currently the elephant in the collective tech world's room. There have been many beefs before, and will be many more to come. Nintendo and Sega had a particularly bitter rivalry a few years back, and yes, a young me vehemently argued with my junior high class mates. How could they not clearly see that the Super Nintendo trounced the Genesis in every way, and that "Blast Processing" was just total bullshit? Sony vs. Xbox, Microsoft vs. Mac, Blue Ray vs. HDDVD, Nvida vs. ATI, AMD vs. Intel, Google vs. Bing, Firefox vs. Chrome, Alien vs. Predator, you can't surf two message boards into the tech world without wandering smack dab in to the middle of a war.
Moving on to issue number two. Marketing. That shit has been boiled down to a science. Advertising is very deliberate and and focused not on the product at hand, really that is irrelevant, but more about assigning emotional and social value to the product. They are selling an ideal, a lifestyle, an unobtainable nirvana of consumer bliss. If your think you've never fallen for, or been susceptible to that sort of psychological manipulation, you are most definitely fooling yourself. There is entire volumes written about techniques to subtly manipulate buying decisions, but that's a rabbit hole I don't care to jump down right now.
Hi, how are you holding up? OK, fanboyism....Is it a good thing or a bad thing, I mean it seems to be a relatively harmless catalyst for people to get together and bitch about the "other guys." Well, there is one small problem. Generally speaking, fanboys are not very good at being critical of their brand of choice. When that happens, it breeds complacency in manufactures. They don't have to try very hard to please their core audience, true innovation becomes secondary to incremental, and very lucrative updates. The industry starts to stagnate, and in some cases falls headlong into a backwards bizarro world where it's the manufacture itself that is dictating the direction of the market, and not consumers. In my humble opinion that is a dangerous road for us to go down, and no good can come of it.
Yes, I'm looking at you Apple.
Anti-Apple sentiments? Jesus, I'm such a fanboy.
Google image search for "fanboy" This is the first thing that comes up.