Your Choice in Technology Doesn’t Make You Better Than Anyone Else

Enough is enough. It’s gotten to where someone can’t make a public comment about Android or iOS without sparking some kind of a dispute between soldiers in an imaginary technology war. Not only has this gotten out of hand, but we’re forgetting exactly what we’re arguing about.

When I was in junior high school, I couldn’t afford clothes made by the biggest brands of the day or carry a pager (ask your parents what one of those was if you don’t know). The result was constant teasing and harassment from my peers. I was even in a few fights (which I usually lost) because someone felt they needed to remind me that not wearing Nike shoes made me a lesser being. It was a terrible time of my life, and I’m sad to see that this mentality has made its way to social networks, forums, and comment threads all over the Web. Even adults (who should know better) are taking part in name calling and other uncivilized actions in order to proclaim their technology choices superior.

If I were to say the iPhone 5 looks like a decent upgrade to a sleek and powerful mobile device, it would likely be met with name calling and vicious rebuttals from folks who have an unnatural hatred (a word I don’t use lightly) for anything Apple. Likewise, the same might happen if I were to compliment the results of Project Butter on Android.

I’m an Android phone user. I carry a Galaxy Nexus around with me everywhere I go. My go-to tablet is a Sony Android tablet. For some reason, any time I write about Apple, the fanboy label is thrown around. Really, guys? I’m a technology writer and I write about technology. It doesn’t matter what brand makes the technology. If it’s interesting, I write about it.

Samsung isn’t a victim. It’s a multinational corporation with its own set of ethical violations.

Perhaps the bigger issue facing us is why we, as a society, feel the need to defend a multinational corporation. Samsung received a strong backing from the Android community when Apple took it to court over patent disputes. Meanwhile, Samsung itself is under heavy scrutiny after reports cited Samsung for abusing underage workers in its Chinese factories. Samsung is just like any other multinational corporation. It isn’t a poor victim at all. Samsung has ongoing lawsuits of its own, including quite a few against Apple.

People seem to believe that Android is the heart of the legal back-and-forth between these two companies. Because of this, the split between Android users and iOS users appears to be the battleground on which the most heated of these debates are taking place. Simply put, Apple didn’t sue Samsung for Android-specific features. It sued over the look of the phone, the Samsung-specific enhancements to the OS, and some Samsung-specific applications including local search through S-Voice.

Perhaps the saddest side-effect of this fanaticism is the tossing about of one-word names and personal attacks.

More concerning to me are the personal attacks being tossed around in these threads. Is someone’s choice of phone really reason enough to harass them and call them derogatory names? Has our society evolved so little over its history that we haven’t moved past the inclinations of junior high school children?

It brings to mind the movie Idiocracy. The clip below features some harsh language, but it’s really no different than the typical OS X Vs. Windows or Android Vs. iOS thread.

Name calling is a fallback people use instinctively when they have neither the vocabulary or intelligence to formulate a rational response to a situation. It speaks poorly of the person’s ability to communicate, and even less to their technical understanding. Being called a name by someone claiming their superior technical selections is like Mr. Bean calling someone clumsy. It’s silly.

Sadly, it’s the result of us, as a group, becoming a little too passionate about objects. We care so much about the iPhone or our favorite desktop operating system that we are practically willing to fight people who feel differently. It’s a religious fanaticism that needs to stop. It’s sad, really.

A phone is, at the end of the day, just a phone. If you believe so strongly that someone with a lesser phone deserves to be publicly called out and shamed for doing so, then you are the one with the bigger issue.

If you want to express your opinion on a this-versus-that topic, bring some insight to the table.

A recent Google+ post by Chris Pirillo brought some interesting insight into this ongoing issue. He shared a link to a a story indicating that the iPhone 5 sold out of its pre-orders faster than the iPhone 4 or 4S. He hinted that this counters previous assumptions that the phone announcement was boring and uneventful. The resulting conversation flowed like any other Android/iOS debate. Some Android fans declared that people buying the new iPhone were cult members, while others were less severe in their opinions.

Apparently, buying a certain phone makes you the member of a cult. What does that say about people who buy the opposing phone and shun people who purchase the “cult” phone? Isn’t that a cult-like activity on its own?

The above video is kind of funny. It depicts some of the things that people have been saying on Google+ en masse. There’s a certain bandwagon factor that plays into every group, and social networks are no different. How many conversations have you seen on Google+ and/or Facebook declaring one social network to be “better” than another? How many hours do people spend bickering back and forth about it, when they usually have accounts on both networks anyway?

We need to take a step back as a culture and consider just how involved we are in the debates and arguments waging across virtually every social platform. Are you one of those folks who judges people based on what phone they carry or what brand their computer is? How is this any different than being in junior high and making fun of someone for wearing shoes made by an unpopular brand? Honestly, there’s no difference at all.

Image: Chris Pirillo

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • TucsonMatt

    The bottom line is that technology is a tool, and whichever tool helps you do what you need is the best tool – for you.

    I think Apple has created some of the backlash by marketing themselves as the choice of an elite – someone who rises above the banality of the less intelligent PC user who can’t think for himself. By marketing themselves as a superior choice of superior people, they engender anger from those who don’t view technology as a fashion accessory or form over function.

    Why some get so angry about someone being willing to pay significantly more for something that looks pretty seems silly on the face of it, but people usually lash out when someone acts superior just because they can afford, or are willing to pay, more for a Nike shoe over an equally serviceable but less costly alternative.

    Often, Apple’s technology is lagging behind the competitions, but the “Reality Distortion Field” causes many to blindly believe that cut and paste isn’t necessary on a phone, or multi-tasking isn’t necessary, even though they charge more for the reduced capabilities. Or, they don’t see the disconnect between Jobs saying a smaller tablet was stupid unless users filed down their fingers but not making the obvious point that iPhone users were using basically the same interface on a 3.5″ screen.

    For me, I chafe at the control Apple wants over everything, including what can be installed on their phone or having to use iTunes for everything when I don’t even want it installed on my computer in the first place. I don’t want to pay more for less. I like the look of my SIII just fine.

    However, if someone wants to make a choice that is different than mine, they’re welcome to plunk down their money as much as they want.

  • Felipe Baez

    Completely agree and just the other day, on google+ (LOL), I posted exactly the same idea, technology for whatever reason is becoming a religion.

  • Jody Carbone

    Well said! While I am an Android fan and have no interest in Apple devices, I come up short of participation in the vitriolic mudslinging. It’s just silly. I first became aware of computers in 1976 and have lived a long and very satisfying life, watching innovation bring us the next greatest thing. While there are “brands” involved it’s the technology that fascinates me, not who created it. In the long run we all benefit, so the next time you consider slamming someone for their choice thank them instead. Without us/them none of this would be possible.

    • Max_Kelman

      Hell yeah. If nobody bought the iPhone, and the iPhone 3G and it was a moderate success would Blackberry and clones of it still be the top dogs in the market right now instead glass slabs with new advancements every year?

  • http://about.me/dillieo Dillie-O

    +1 I remember back even in the ’90s the harshness between the Windows and Mac folks. They’re just devices for crying out loud!

    For the record, I’m a .Net developer running my environment on a MacBook Pro and use a HTC Thunderbold and Nexus 7 for my day to day activities. I see merits and faults in them all 8^D

    • 2eurocents

      This rivalry was all the more sad because Apple and Microsoft, the corporations, got along just great. Didn’t Microsoft at some point bail out Apple with hundreds of millions of dollars?

    • Adam Smith

      Two things stick with me, the premium price Apple charges for its product, and term Isheep (which I think has stuck)
      For these two reasons, I think it is healthy to debate whether Apple and its products are overpriced and overhyped
      For the record, most of my friends have Iphones, but I have a Nokia dumbphone, Im more than happy to pay less for my phone and more for home/Netbook internet – personal choice. The recent lack of new innovations with the IPhone 5 compared to the competition, leading to the displaying of gimmicks like “Skyview” made me realise Apple are coming back to the pack.
      From day dot, Apple products have been more expensive, because they “just work”. Regardless, I managed to get a lot of productive work done with an inexpensive IBM PC clone in the 1990s-2000s, again a personal choice
      However for me, in all these debates, the key point has been “Is Apples Product really worth the premium price”
      My answer generally is:
      “Yes, Apple products are worth the price premium, if you prefer to let Apple, its closed ecosystem, and their geniuses do a lot of the tinkering for you”
      In my darker moments, my answer is:
      “No, Apple products are not worth the price hike, unless you prefer to let Apple do the thinking for you”

      • Max_Kelman

        “Yes, Apple products are worth the price premium, if you prefer to let Apple, its closed ecosystem, and their geniuses do a lot of the tinkering for you”

        Do tinkering for you? What nonsense is that? I root the crap out of my Android phones, I jailbreak my iOS devices and Tinker the hell out of both equally. I Also Tinker the hell out of my Mac’s software and self upgraded my MacBook Pro. So what is this let the genius’ do the tinkering for you nonsense about?

        It seems like you are one of the people that never used anything outside of Windows and maybe Android to actually see what you can do and just rely on misinformation.

  • Agrippa

    You’re telling me. I have the misfortune of really loving Windows Phone and the Nokia Lumia line. I also committed the greater sin of actually liking Windows 8. Then I confessed to loving the iPad and admitted that the iPhone 5 is a good upgrade to what was an already great phone. Worse yet, I do all these things as a (former) Linux user… yeah… I get it from all directions. I learned to stop fighting by being on the “losing” side all the time. I even use Bing on occasion.

    These are just gadgets. When the mudslinging starts, I just yawn and go watch standups on Youtube. I’m getting too old for the vitriol. However, some fun ribbing among friends is a different story. My friends and I call each other fanboys all the time and generally make fun of our platforms by exaggerating stereotypes. But that’s hardly the same thing.

  • Chris Plumb

    This trend towards arguing over idiotic status symbols is further proof that we as a society are moving socially backward. The only serious conversations I have with people anymore are about gear/products/music/movies/etc. Nobody is willing to talk about their failing marriages, or economic desperation, or anything that really makes us who we are or happy or sad or HUMAN. Instead, we revert to stupid trivial trinkets, like 7th grade kids arguing over whose digiPET is better than the others. Humans have always been a shallow species, but I think now, in this time, we are the mentally thinnest we have ever been.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rey.garcia.1848 Rey Garcia

    Good thoughts. Fanboy. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.ramos.1829 Alexander Ramos

    The Android users were exactly like you described to the beginning…
    “I couldn’t afford clothes made by the biggest brands of the day or carry a pager (ask your parents what one of those was if you don’t know). The result was constant teasing and harassment from my peers.”
    With the only difference that WE CHOSE ANDROID over the iPhone not because that wes our only chance, but our own decision. I remember when we the Android users were the “copycat” and Android always were addressed like slow and without apps.

    Well, now Android and all their smartphones are pushing the mobile technology really hard and far, innovation, creativity and a nice great community and Apple is just offering much less for a higher price…
    I don´t blame to the iPhone users, I don´t hate them… I really think Apple is taking advantage of all its users and sadly it is winning creating a cult more than a option and solution to a necessity…

    Now is our time…

    • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Ryan Matthew Pierson

      It’s hard for me to team myself up with a brand that is really just making money off me. The only team in Google’s eyes is the Google staff. Same with Apple.

  • randyfromreno

    Get crapple to stop with the lawsuits. Then we’ll talk.

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      Way to be a bigger person. Impressive.

  • Jason

    I agree. The fighting is over. Android wise up. The release of the iPhone 5 was was apple conceding in the race for the best technology. No they will continue to gouge their customers for what ever money they can get until they wuse

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      Huh?

      • Jan Bernert

        1st-world problems. I’d like to see a chart that displays the WASTE of energy being used for discussions like this. It’s just tech. Everybody may choose anything at thier own preference.

  • TomN

    LOL. You posted anti Android message and ask us to put aside the dispute? I didn’t care about Apphole until its lawyers try to block what I want to buy. You can lick Apphole as long as you want, but let other people have the freedom of choice

  • Bolt473

    Back in 2009, I decided my first computer would be a Mac. For several months after, I harassed people for liking PCs. Every time I see a troll on any side of this stupid hate-war, I can’t help but think it’s karma. I am so sorry, internet. I didn’t know.

    In all seriousness, great post. Thank you for trying to help fix this senseless fight.

    • http://www.facebook.com/L.Lawliet.Ryuuzaki.Ryuga Andreas Indelicato

      I agree!

      • Bolt473

        I mean, here’s the thing: For every hater on G+ who sings Android’s praises as if everything else is for morons, there’s another hater somewhere else who sings Apple’s praises as everything else is for morons. So it balances out. Still, it needs to stop.

  • Mike Corbett

    i don’t like to bash people ever, but i don’t mind bashing the product or the company that made it. What else should I be a reviewer for?

  • Marko Man

    your shi*t ppl say on g+ is random… dont try too hard to be cool or funny. you dont have it in you.

  • Rajesh Narayanan

    It is hard not to side with someone. It’s like watching your favorite sport without cheering for a team. The way you’ve described is like watching like an outsider. What’s the fun in that?

    Specs/ open source etc are just things we come up with for spicing up this support. Just MHO

  • http://mumbleandtumble.tumblr.com/ klandwehr

    I have an iPad and a Galaxy Nexus Phone, which I purchased from Google Play and I am happy with both products. If my friend or relative decided to buy a Windows Phone I might ask why, but I wouldn’t think them less of a person. That would be as silly as me hating my sister because she is a Yankee Fan (Red Soxs fan here). We have had some spirited debates, about the teams,but that is it. If you want someone to defend a choice that they made just tell them it was a stupid choice. They will defend it even if they think you maybe right. No one wants to admit they made a stupid decision.

  • 2eurocents

    Hopeless argument, pointless article, but I guess it gets one clicks.
    Now – have you never heard of football fans/hooligans? Nationalist madmen? This tech fanboism stems from the same personality disorder. They feel inadequate, identify with something greater than themselves in order to assign more importance to themselves – in their own eyes.
    Now, you be the judge if this applies more to Apple or (us) Android users xD
    On a serious note – I’m fine with people being passionate about anything, and aggressively critical even if need be about policy/practices of a company/government, speaking up is a virtue, however: the slagging off between two groups of consumers… the mutual personal insults.. makes me cringe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/L.Lawliet.Ryuuzaki.Ryuga Andreas Indelicato

    Thanks for saying this Ryan! That’s the thing that made my head aching all the time! I’m a tech geek and i shit on the opinion of whatever.. ^_^ If t’s Apple,Microsoft,Google ,Canonical or something… i use all 3 platforms. and i love them all for several reasons… Let’s love tech and not companies! It’s such an interesting time to live in this time we are right now..I think ChrisPirillo pointed that one out very good if ya were a real geek ya guys wouldn’t argue about this Apple/Android/WindowsPhone thing.

  • Findle

    It seems straight forward, but is it really? I think at the end of the day a lot of the wars is about making sure that which you like survives. I love Windows Phone. I tend to like MS products. But a entire generation of tech bloggers and ‘industry insiders’ simply decided everything MS was uncool, and that it would/will fail. It’s self fulfilling prophecy. I don’t want to use Apple products. Maybe that makes me a bad person. Don’t really care, too busy with the whole ‘life’ thing. But the bottom line is from my pov a lot of people simply want to make MS go away. I like MS stuff. Hence it’s a war of survival. I think on some levels it’s that simple.

  • Tinman57

    There are a lot of scumbags and despicable people in the world, and the majority of them are on the internet daily. The more I hang around people, the more I like my dogs. It don’t matter what you buy or what you say, some degenerate is going to harangue you on the products worth or what you said.
    You can say “The sky was a beautiful blue today” and some eco-nut is going to call you a liar and say it’s impossible with all the pollution in the air. You just can’t win, all you can do is to take it in stride and hope that Karma does it’s thing…..

  • http://nixgeeks.com/ Adam Thompson

    It’s utterly ridiculous how some people act towards their choice in technology. Don’t get me wrong, having a certain amount of pride towards your favorite platform is one thing (I personally have no problem saying that I’m a huge fan of Android), but pride is far different from acting like an immature child.

    There is absolutely no excuse for people that feel the need to criticize and verbally abuse somebody just because they use IOS, or Android, or OS X, or any other platform.

    “Sadly, it’s the result of us, as a group, becoming a little too passionate about objects.” I would have to say that it’s far more than “a little too passionate”. It’s completely ridiculous. It just shows that some people seriously need to grow up.

  • Professor Chaos

    I’m sick of all this “can’t we all just get along” nonsense. No we can’t! It’s our nature to fight, to choose sides, to take up a banner and champion it. It’s not supposed to make sense, it is just how our brains are hardwired. We need friction to keep things moving. So stop trying to fight it, take a side and join in the fray; you’ll feel better. Don’t be a bench warmer, sidelines are for old punks.

  • http://alphaefficiency.com Bojan Djordjevic

    This is one hell of an article. Love it! Perfectly explains the situation and shows where the common sense went. It’s marketing to blame. A good marketing. And it all starts when you start name calling. Than the other group starts defending… And it creates an endless spiral… Maybe it would help if Samsung didn’t create name calling campaigns.

  • http://alphaefficiency.com Bojan Djordjevic

    This is one hell of an article. Love it! Perfectly explains the situation and shows where the common sense went. It’s marketing to blame. A good marketing. And it all starts when you start name calling. Than the other group starts defending… And it creates an endless spiral… Maybe it would help if Samsung didn’t create name calling campaigns.

  • Cesar Schrega

    I don’t think it states anyone is better. But you can find out a lot about a person from a phone purchase.

    • Max_Kelman

      No it doesn’t. Just like you can’t tell a person by the car they drive or the clothes they wear. The only thing that is reinforce stereotypes and pre-judge intolerance.

  • Max_Kelman

    You know what is really disgusting about this. Some of us are actually in both camps. Some of OS love the hell out of OS X because of its power, ease of use, great Apps, and so on. However, to a lot of us iOS is completely the opposite of what OS X is, and feel Android is better suited companion to OS X. Yet, for just owning an Apple product and loving that product you are treated as an iSheep or Fandroid by both camps. You are like the ugly step child with no place to fit. Trust me I know because I am a Mac user exclusively, own iPad, owned every iPhone and every Nexus device to date. I love them because I love the technology they offer. Sadly, there is no room for people like myself and it is no longer enjoyable to engaged with geeks online because it is a war and I am not interested in fighting a war. I don’t feel I should have to defend my choices to anyone.

  • Kika

    I think this article is more about the nature of choice than about choosing between Apple or Samsung products. When A makes a choice, it means that A chose that thing over other similar things for a set of reasons. These reasons cause B, C and D to question their reasons for their choices that were different from A’s choice. B, C and D then feel the need to defend their reasons. And the best form of defense is offense.

    This doesn’t just apply to technology. It applies whenever people make choices. And the illusion of choice is the cornerstone of capitalism. Keep making people want, choose, and defend things and capitalism is a success!

  • jS

    What is a hipster and why is it so important to label people as them?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1292299949 Nino Brunori

    I use whatever system gives me the most entertainment value and doesn’t lock me down.
    The system that gives me the most bloatware turns me off especially when they keep me from removing it.
    Nickle and diming, something Verizon does very well, is another turn off.

    I own an Android X mostly because the iPhone wasn’t at Verizon when I went to get my first Smart device. To my avail, the phone has a 1ghz processor and can’t even take a decent photo or video yet was expensive as hell.

    Yes, a digital camera is Apples and Oranges but if I can take full 1080p video underwater for under $100.00 I can’t understand why they put so much into this phone that the best thing about it is it can play Angry Birds.

    From what I heard about Apple products is that they just work. You press a button and it works, no compromise, no settling for almost. It works the way it says on the box and manual.