In my previous post, I introduced the idea of a “fanboy” in regards to Apple vs. Insert Company Here.
For my second installment on brand loyalty, I’m going to introduce a few examples of people one might consider a “fanboy” to be. For the purposes of this series, I will focus primarily on the Apple brand, specifically the dynamic that occurs between iPhone users and Android users.
If I were to give the perfect example of what many in the Android camp would consider to be the quintessential Apple Fanboy, I would need to look no further than Mr. John Gruber himself, who is an Apple enthusiast and writer. Gruber is the writer of Daring Fireball, which is a highly popular “Mac column in the form of a weblog”, as he personally states it.
Gruber’s opinions are usually fairly blunt and to the point, and his style is sometimes bordering on the slightly vulgar, but it’s kind of endearing. He’s known as somewhat of a higher level member of the Apple community, and is given a fairly significant amount of access to Apple without being an actual paid member of the company. Because of his substantial network, he is well-informed and highly influential.
Many members of the Android community like to point to him as an unabashed Apple bullhorn who has zero objectivity when it comes to anything regarding Apple. The most timely example of this kind of backlash against him (and other Apple enthusiasts) comes from the recently started site Daring No Balls, an obvious play on the namesake of Gruber’s blog. Daring No Balls was started due to the perceived snubbing of all things Android at the hands of the Apple elite, and serves as a sort of roasting of said members and anyone else who might not be able to pull themselves out of the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field. While I don’t necessarily agree with the author’s way of going about it, I must say, it’s a rather interesting initiative that has already caught the attention of Gruber and others.
As you can tell, when the line has been drawn, people will be more than willing to take up the mantle of something (or some company) they really believe in. This sort of vehement side-taking isn’t a revelation of any kind to any of us, but it is a little discouraging to watch grown men and women argue to the point of vile-spitting anger over an inanimate object. But what really is it that is being argued over?
Is it the object, or the ideal behind it?
For many, myself sometimes included, it’s difficult to separate my love for Apple from rationality and objectivity. I believe so firmly in their philosophy that it wouldn’t be out of line to say that sometimes I might go along all too easily with whatever Apple does. As an adult, I find that highly annoying that I could be so easily swayed, and therefore cannot fault another person entirely for doing something similar.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s right. That doesn’t mean that I should blindly follow and accept without questioning. Not everything Apple does is great. And not everything Android does is terrible.
Taking this attempt of self-awareness and applying it to other areas in my life, it’s disconcerting to see that it’s much more prevalent than I would like to admit. As a Christian, I’ve often taken ideas, teachings, interpretations, doctrinal beliefs, etc. at face value without any real struggle to find out how strongly it might actually hold up to scrutiny. I’ve encountered this same unfortunate practice in the lives of countless other Christians, and the same could no doubt be said for numerous people of varying belief systems (whether they consider themselves believers or not).
As someone who has worked in multiple forms of youth ministry over the years, I have found time and again the need to implore my students to question everything. That’s a scary notion for a lot of people to accept, particularly adults (especially parents of students; I learned that the hard way). There isn’t anything wrong with questioning why you believe what you do, or whether or not you even should believe what you do. In fact, Scripture tells us to do just that.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good…
The point is, as we go further into the idea of “fanboy-ism”, I hope we allow ourselves to question our motives, if only to be certain that they are pure and in the right place. And just as much, that we might give ourselves room to possibly change perspective on a few things. There is always room to grow, and while holding steadfast to our beliefs IS important, allowing for the possibility that we are wrong or misinformed might be just as vital.