“Fanboy” is a Stupid Term

June 19, 2012

Warning: This entry is mostly about me and my experiences to make a point. It’s purely, 80% self-centered opinion.

I don’t use any Google service. I uninstalled Flash on my Mac. I purchase at least one Apple product per year. Outside of my work as Apple’s representative at PSU for the 2010 school year I’ve driven $10,000s in revenue for Apple. And I actively offer unofficial support in person and on Twitter. Needless to say, I’ve been called a fanboy many times.

But I’m not a fanboy in that sense. In my experience, the term is mostly used by people to discredit other’s opinions. Apparently Apple fanboys are blind sheep that dig anything that Apple puts out, simply because Apple puts it out. In my experience, that isn’t true of anyone on the receiving end and the people who use it derogatorily are insecure.

By most measures, “fanboy” is a stupid term and has no place in a constructive debate. So, if I’m not a fanboy, why do I do everything I do for Apple (and what I don’t do for its competitors) without any incentive?

  1. I trust Apple.
    My history of Apple gear in order of purchase: The first gen iPod shuffle, a fifth gen iPod classic, a first gen MacBook Pro, a second gen iPod shuffle, a first gen iPod touch, an iPhone 3G, a first gen iPad, an iPhone 4, and a 3rd gen iPad. Apple has earned my trust; it has a history of releasing products that please me to the point where there’s little risk for me to purchase its products.
  2. I don’t like Apple’s competition and I’m not a hypocrite.
    I don’t spend a lot of time with Android devices, as an example, but I do test them when I can. I simply don’t like them; I don’t like the interface, the app drawer sucks, and the devices that I’ve tested lag. Not buying stuff that I don’t like seems reasonable. As far as Google goes, even if I like one of its services, it’d be hypocritical of me to use it. Saying “Google sucks!” because of its ad schemes, while using its services, isn’t something that I can do in good conscience.
  3. I hate the spread of misinformation.
    Anytime someone that doesn’t like Apple doesn’t like an action that Apple makes, they assume that Apple has evil motives and propagate that belief. I choose to find all points of view, and more often than not Apple’s seemingly questionable actions are reasonable. I prefer that the truth be spread around over the unqualified hate.
  4. I like helping people.
    I don’t set out to move Apple hardware. All the revenue that Apple has earned because of me is a direct result of me answering any questions I’m asked from anybody, truthfully and without incentive, and being available for support questions through the life of their purchases. I like knowing that I’ve improved someone’s day. Surprisingly, being knowledgeable, being honest, and being helpful influences purchasing decisions.

Every alleged “Apple fanboy” that I know is the same way. We aren’t sheep, we don’t throw away our bank accounts and spend time being free labor for Apple because we want to waste our time. We love our stuff and we love talking about it. It’s really that simple.

I’d like to end with a comment from “LareneDepopiet” under a CNET article about fanboys.

Companies, or brands have a style, a culture, a language, and that adds up to something close to a personality. This is very clear internally in the way decisions are made, priorities assigned, and generally what values are held. Finding that a companies values or priorities are a good match for your own, which you may not do consciously, will make you more receptive to its products or services. there is nothing wrong with that, it does not make you a fanboy or a zombie.
Just like you are more forgiving of your friends’ faults because you value their qualities, you can be more accepting of a product’s weaknesses because you appreciate a company’s culture. That does not make you stupid. In fact, in the long term, it may be smarter because you reward the companies who have values consistent with yours, even when their products are not, objectively, the absolute best in a category.

It seals the whole deal, doesn’t it?

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