What does it mean to be a fanboy? Is it a good thing, or a bad thing? And most of all, are you one? Lately, these are the questions I've been asking myself and others, young and old. Now, let's get into the juicy stuff.

I am a fanboy, and chances are, so are you. Whether you like it or not, it's natural for humans to prefer certain products from preferred companies. For example, my father is a hardcore Sony fan. No matter what you tell him, he will tell you that Sony makes the best TVs, camcorders, stereos, DVD players, and so forth. Why? Simple. In his lifetime, he clearly had great experiences with Sony products so getting everything with the Sony brand would lead him to believe that he's getting top-notch quality.

Is it wrong to be a fanboy? No, but it's certainly wrong to be an asshole - And this is something a lot of people confuse. In any given conversation, I've witnessed the expressions on people's faces change because one person preferred a product or service that wasn't the same as everyone else. Read on for more...

See, there are some people that will make a complete ass of themselves to stand for what they believe in, while others will simply give their opinion and think "take it, or leave it." I used to be tough when it came to talking about certain products, and at times I got aggressive, but now I choose to present myself differently. Facing the facts, most of us, for example, grew up using Windows platforms just like myself and all of my friends. If you own a Mac now, you're probably a recent convert, just as I am.

After working in retail for a few years, I've learned how to present myself professionally in any given situation. When I say I own a Mac or an iPhone, people automatically assume that I hate all other products. Now, you can imagine what makes them think that way, but I don't appreciate the attitude they put on when speaking to me - arrogant, disrespectful, hesitant.

It takes hard work and dedication to be a fanboy. That's right, I said it. It's no easy job, and I'm sure you'd agree if you're a true fanboy at heart. So many facts to know, so many answers and comebacks to prepare for in any given conversation just so you can stand for and represent your beliefs. *In this post I've referenced Apple and I will continue to do so a few more times.*

When I get into a conversation about Macs and Windows, or iPhones and *insert other phone here*, I always states the positives and negatives of both products, including the product I am backing. Keeping it fair, I show that I have an understanding of either side of the stance, while demonstrating why the pros beat out the cons of the given issue, if deemed arguable for my case. One may believe that the countless amounts of software available for Windows beats out the stability of a Mac, but in the end, it all comes down to what really matters to the end-user. In my case, I clearly prefer stability over the insane quanities of Windows software.

Okay, take a deep breath and get a glass of water. Ready? Okay, continue reading when you're ready.

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Yes, there is major psychology involved here. Depending on how an individual was raised, he may or may not prefer to stick to a single type of product/service when in the need of getting something done. Generally, when you have a good experience with a product or service, your use of it is repeated. This is why some people (like my father) are di-hard Sony fanboys, and why some people (like me) love Apple products so much.

Being a communications major at the University, they teach you that this is the very reason why some companies try to gain your loyalty very early in the game. Once you're comfortable with one way of doing something, you generally wouldn't choose something else since you already have a preference.

Now, I try to be as objective as possible because I vouch for fairness at all times. I've developed a certain comfort with Apple products that makes me feel at home when I use them. The consistency of the products' interface is easy for me to use, and it's pretty much embedded into my brain how something should work. When I use another phone that's not an iPhone, there's a level of tension because that consistent interactivity between me and the type of product is broken. When I said I always try to be objective, I meant it. I always keep my mind open for new opportunities to adapt new technologies that work for me. In this case, I believe that Google's Android platform is the only alternative I've seen that may win my praise, simply because it just works.

If more companies tried to deepen their understanding of the psychological concepts that are present when creating a product or service, we would have less crappier products in this world - OR, you can simply blame it all on the lack of a sufficient budget for a company to work with.

The fact is, because of how humans are engineered, no single product will ever work for everyone. Maybe, in the past, it would've been possible, but we have socially evolved far beyond that point. No matter how much you demonstate the efficiency or superiority of one product or service over another, there will always be those that disagree - maybe because they truthfully believe their choice is better, or they love their alternative too much to let go. As much as I love Macs and iPhones, I know that if there is a better product released, it will win me over without any hesitation on my side.

What makes a "fanboy" an a**hole? Without spending too much time on this, I can simply put it this way: If you love a product for the sake of loving it and making you look or sound hip, you need a serious ego check. Unfortunately, most people get products because it's what everyone else uses (like iPods), and so they can fit in - not because it's what they truly prefer. Maybe I'm mistaken, and all the 100 million people that bought iPods really love their iPods (until something goes wrong and they purchase a Creative Zen).

Also, don't force your opinions onto others through aggression and anger - that only makes you look silly and immature. Instead, take all of your knowledge and opinions and apply it to the situation with logic and reasoning. Who knows, you may hit the spot and convince the person otherwise. I'll be honest - I used to be aggressive and made a fool of myself in various situations (not just fanboy-related), but I have learned from my mistakes.

In the end, we're all fanboys. And that's that. If you feel otherwise, exercise your freedom of expression in the comments section below. If not, excersize it anyway! I'd like to see some comments on this topic.

PS. I may write a followup post in the future depending on the response I get. There are a few things that I left out because it would've made this post ridiculously long. Subscribe to my feed and stay up to date. :)

What's next on One Fused Life: I will be writing about Brand Loyalty, which interrelates with most of the ideas covered in this post. See ya!