It’s 2017, and it looks like we still need to have that talk about fanboyism. It’s something we see in the comments section in our stories, and it’s something we’re accused of often – commonly for being fanboys of competing companies, I might add.
People sometimes tend to think of technology brands the same way they do when it comes to sports teams: that you can only support one at a time, that the others are your opponents and should be reviled as such, and that you absolutely have to take a side.
That’s not how technology works, and you’re doing yourself a disservice by thinking that way.
When it comes to consumer technology (read: apps, services and gadgets we pay for and use regularly), it’s important to remember a few things:
- brands aren’t your friends
- the position a brand takes on various issues can change over time
- the public perception of a brand can change over time
As such, there really isn’t much of a point choosing a side and vowing to stick with it your entire life – or assuming that we as journalists would do so.
Apple might seem to be lagging on the innovation front one year, but it could quickly take back the top spot the next. Google might profess its love for the environment one day and subsequently be found misusing natural resources. Uber might be caught out harboring sexists in its ranks one year, and things may not change for a long while. That’s just how the cookie crumbles.
What’s important, then, is to treat information from sites like ours as building blocks with which to form an opinion about how you think companies should run or how technology should progress in the future. At the same time, be flexible with your opinion, because you never know what’s going to make the headlines the next day.
It’s worth discussing whether we journalists are biased. Yes, we certainly are – and we’ve written about that, too. But our bias wouldn’t count for anything if we couldn’t back up the claims and beliefs we have – and we strive to make strong arguments to do that in our stories. And that doesn’t prevent us from objectively stating facts.
So, what to do with all your love and admiration for Brand X? There’s no harm in loving Apple or Google or Microsoft’s products and their approaches to design and development, but it helps to remember that these companies are run by people, and people can make mistakes. Plus, your own needs and preferences may change, and you may eventually not favor them as strongly as you once did. And that’s okay.