Fanboy or Hater?

Whenever there is a popular brand it seems that people start to fall into different categories regarding that brand. Now that we're in this internet age where it's easier than ever to voice your opinion (anonymously), it comes out even more. When we hear the terms Fanboy, Apologist, Hater, and Troll, we already start to name various brands in our heads. Of course brands come to mind like Apple, Sony, Bose, Adobe, Microsoft, Google, etc. People are very passionate about brands. Unfortunately this usually means they either LOVE them or HATE them. There usually isn't much room in the middle. I pride myself on trying to stay in the middle as much as possible. Take Apple for example, I've been a long time fan of their products (over 20 years). I've never worked for the company and never been paid a single dime to endorse them. I have an appreciation for good design and products that work right, but I also have no problem pointing out when something doesn't work right or when a mistake has been made (and yes they make mistakes)! Look at any review I've ever done on their products and you will see where I mention the things I like and the things I DON'T LIKE. Neither a Fanboy nor a Hater. I realize that in all of the brands I mentioned above and the ones I didn't mention, at the end of the day these companies and their products are run/made by humans and humans are not perfect. So neither are their products!


Which one are you?

Fanboy – A Fanboy is someone that just loves the company and its products. These are typically positive people in general and even though they can see when something isn't quite right, they generally come back with lines like "Oh I'm sure they'll fix that." They are also usually pretty vocal about why they think the product is cool and would be the first in line to buy the new version. They also typically love telling their friends and anyone who will listen about the gadget they just got and how much it has changed their lives. If you didn't know better you would swear they're being paid. I actually don't have a problem with Fanboys. What's wrong with loving the tools you use and the companies that make them? Also Fanboys generally have a positive outlook on life in general and are usually pleasant to hang out with. The only problem here is that Fanboys often aren't open to even looking at another solution or product, so they may actually be missing out on something that may work better for them. Canon vs. Nikon comes to mind here 🙂


Apologist (a.k.a fanatic) – An Apologist and Fanboy are often looked at as being one in the same. They're not the same. While I don't have a problem with Fanboys, Apologists bug the crap out of me. The Apologist also loves the product and company. However, they are so blinded by their loyalty that if there is something wrong with a particular product, they tend to want to blame everyone else. They are the first to say things like: "Mine works great, you must just be using it wrong!" or "They designed it that way for a reason, you shouldn't want to do that?". They see the company's vision and you just don't get it! No matter what, the company and the products are perfect. There is no defect or flaw. You're the one with the problem. It's your fault! "So your arm fell off. How can you be so sure that the product caused that to happen? My arm didn't fall off. Why would you want to sue? Stop being a cry baby." There is no arguing with an Apologist. They will NEVER admit that there is something wrong. Don't waste your time, just smile and move on. 


Regular User – I like to live in this space. A regular user uses a product and they praise it for what it does well, but don't have a problem pointing out what it doesn't do well. They want good value for their money. They appreciate good design and products, but have no problem moving to something else if what they bought isn't working out. They usually don't comment on forums very often unless they are having an issue or they know the fix to someone else's issue. If the product that they are using is working well, they'll upgrade and recommend it to others. If not they have not problem telling you why. 


Hater/Troll – These are the people that love to hate a product or a brand. They are the first to post something like "LOL LOL LOL, loser, I can't believe you bought that" or "I told you it was screwed up, you should have bought ________", "Sucker!" "I'm smart, you're an idiot". These are also the people who are quick to tell you why they are NOT buying something.  Like the Apologist, these people also bug me. What I never understood about haters is, if you hate the product or brand so much then why are you hanging out on forums, blogs, etc. that are talking about that product you hate so much. I don't have any interest in Golf, but I don't seek out Golf forums to tell people how much I hate it. I walked past a GAP the other day. I saw a shirt in the window that I didn't like. Funny, I didn't feel compelled to stand in front of the store telling strangers that passed by why I wasn't going to buy the shirt. I didn't say "hey, you see this shirt I'm wearing? I like it much better than the one they have in the window. How could they even sell such a shirt? Mine has TWO pockets." Haters/Trolls are sometimes people that went against the popular choice and they don't like to feel like they bought the wrong thing. So therefore, they spend a great deal of time telling you how bad the popular choice is so they feel better about what they're using. The typical hater is a 14 year old kid in his parents basement with lots of time on his hands to be online. Not much of a social life and gets a kick out getting everyone worked up. Avoid the argument, it's not worth your time. You're never going to change a haters mind.


Consumer – I don't have a better word for these non-industry folks. Like the Regular User, these people bought a product and they use it. They don't go online to read about the latest advancements of that product. They aren't waiting for the next version. They really don't have any loyalties one way or the other. They just use it. If you ask them about it, they will tell you very honestly what they feel one way or the other. They have no vested interest or pride about the product or brand one way or the other. Ask me about my refrigerator. "It works fine. It keeps my food cold. I haven't really had any problems with it. Which brand is it? I forgot, let me go look." These are the people that go on about their lives and could care less about any of the above. They almost never buy a gadget the first day it comes out unless they just happened to be walking by the store and see a crowd. They would never stand in a line to get the new thing and in most cases they didn't even know the new one was coming until they saw all the people in line on the news. As much as you might not like to hear it, there are millions of these people and they probably buy the bulk of the products that you're so passionate about and could care less. I love these people too! 🙂


Happy Friday Everyone 🙂


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28 Replies to “Fanboy or Hater?”

  1. Well said. We all should chill out a little and have fun in life. All these gadgets are cool but there not the only thing to life.

  2. Good one Terry, however, I can’t resist changing one quote:
    “Mine works great, you must just be [HOLDING] it wrong!”

    I’m still an Apple fan, but very disappointed in the iPhone4 and the way Apple has tried to “spin” the antennae problem.

  3. Feeling bored? Need a chuckle or some cheering up?

    Just go to any Forum for Nikon, Canon, iPhone etc. and read a couple of the largest threads there.
    Its very entertaining/hillarious to see how the lovers and haters trash each other by the choice of the phone, camera, gadget etc.

  4. I’ve always had a different scale for hater and fanboy (I always considered everyone in between a “consumer”):

    Hater: A hater is a still just a fanboy. Their proverbial guns are loaded with stories not for why you should love the competition but why you should hate the one product/company. They are all of what a fanboy but with a heart toward destroying the competitor to their beloved brand. You would hear them say something like, “Yeah, but it’s (company) X! And (company) X is evil!!” …or generic excuses for not considering alternatives… “Hey, everything has it’s problems.” If generic product animosity keeps you from considering an alternative, they you are listening to a hater. Check your friends list.

    Consumer: They shop it out. They look at the good, the bad, and the ugly and they go with the best scenario for them. Of course, the fanboys swoop in and appeal to their wallets with stories of their loyalty which has almost nothing to do with current product comparisons. Haters (being fanboys in reality) load you up with all sorts of reasons why you shouldn’t consider alternatives. The consumer will be found questioning fanboys saying stuff like, “But the volume goes all the way to 11 on product X… how is volume up to 10 better on Y?”

    Fanboy- This is the person who only buys the one product from the company for which they are a fanboy and doesn’t really have plans to consider the alternatives (they don’t ‘hate’ alternatives… they just lemming along in blind brand loyalty.) It is always their recommendation. They regularly sing their praises without being prompted and without really understanding the competitive differentiators. If someone points out a problem or concern with their product they are fairly quick with generic or unfounded responses. A mountain of published problems with their product doesn’t stop them from making a purchase while a rumor of a couple of un-researched problems is enough to justify why they aren’t really considering alternatives. The key difference: They have made up their mind about what they will invest in before they even shop it out. A fanboy will say stuff like “Well, I have been a buyer of X for X number of years,” as if the world should give them a pass because they are brand loyal, as if that is the equivalent of loyalty in human relationships. A fanboy will also say stuff like, “I guess I will go back to the store as many times as it takes until i get a copy of (product) X that works correctly,” without even considering the possibility that their time might be more well spent looking into alternatives that don’t require such high-maintenance investing.

    I think for me, the biggest characteristic of an unbiased product reviewer is one that is actually reviewing the competitive products. If the alternatives never show up… then they are a fanboy.

    Disclaimer: I really don’t have a problem with fanboys. I agree that haters are an unnecessary nuisance. I do find it irritating when a consumer is simply turned into a hater by a fanboy who doesn’t want to consider the downside to product X or want to discussed the upside to competitive product Y.

  5. Can we not use the gendered term “fanboy”. I know the tech geek world is largely male dominated and often by male adults who still don’t want to grow up and continue being adolescent males. Fanboy conjures up that image. At the same time there are female geeks who are fans. Let’s use the term “fan” and drop the term “fanboy” or “fanboi”.

  6. Well said, Terry! Thanks for today’s fun read and for all the great info you share.

    P.S. — re: Thib’s comment…as a female geek with a good sense of humor and adequate self-esteem, I think you should stick to “fanboy”. It’s your blog, after all — “haters/trolls” are not obliged to read it. 😉

    1. Of course Terry can write whatever he wants, “fanboi”, “fanboy”, “fanbo”, or “fan”. I’m suggesting that there are implications with the word “fanboy” that can suggest things that could be unsavoury. Or perhaps Terry doesn’t cary about that issue. But in any case, I am commenting and not saying I have any power to change Terry’s mind. I do, though, have agency to comment.

  7. Soooo… Thib would be a “politically correct” fanbo…. ahhh, fan of political correctness!?

    I wonder if there are really female geeks out there who are pissed that they aren’t being equally insulted?

    1. Well, I have always wondered what the implication of using “fanboy” and “fan” is. In the pop music world, I think you don’t hear the word “fanboy” used much, if at all. The word would be “fan” or something else. In the tech world, however, “fanboy” or “fanboi” is often used, and often carries with it implications of male gendered-ness in its usage even if it is an unconscious one. Do we want to continue to perpetuate the tech world with its imbalance of gender? It’s not that changing to not using “fanboy” would re-balance the situation. It’s to suggest that not using it can help by not adding to the heavily male gendered flavour of the tech world.

      My comments, and my own agency. Terry too has his own agency.

      1. One more thing: “political correctness” (whatever that means to you) for its own sake is senseless and useless. There are deeper implications for what I’m suggesting. If one makes an argument only for political correctness sake without understanding what the deeper charges are and the deeper implications are, then there is no sense in making the charge.

        Political correctness for political correctness sake makes no sense if there are no deeper implications involved.

  8. Then there are the people that claim to be fans who band together to sue Apple for product flaws not much different than the flaws in other products. They can return their Apple product for a full refund, but proceed with the class action suit. Not sure about their category. Maybe they could be called teabaggers.

  9. I have to say Terry one of the reasons I read your blog is that you are a fan of Apple but are willing to point out flaws or perceived flaws. I would consider my self in general a regular user however I will say when it comes to Apple specifically, I border on being a Apologist hater. I don’t know why I let it drive me crazy but it does, mostly regarding the iphone. I have it and its a good device but its not the best thing since sliced bread. I use and recommend lots of products that I am happy for what they do and curse the seemingly needless limitations incorporated (quick print button on my canon dslrs to name one… I have lots regarding the iphone). This is why I love the competition in the tech market.

  10. What do ya know… I’ve been a Terry White Fanboy for quite some time now. As evidence for why, I submit this blog. 😉

  11. How about another group called “Learners”? People that hate wasting their time. You work for Adobe so i had hoped that by reading your Blog i could get some insight as to why my Adobe products are always crashing but instead all that i’m reading is Apple Bashing. We all know that Apple makes the best products and if they have a problem they fix it. Maybe You should spend more time fixing the flaws in your own products and less time ripping others. I’m sure there are many readers like me that realize you’re just bitter because Apple chose not to use Adobe’s old, buggy, outdated Flash program on their iPhone and iPad! You should get over it, get back to writing what you know!

      1. Thanks for the help Susan, but i didn’t learn anything about Photoshop there either!

  12. The only problem with the canon vs Nikon argument is not so much that its a fanboy or apologist thing, its that once you chose one at the beginning (usually when you dont know anything), you are kind of “stuck” with that brand. Sure you could switch, but we all know how expensive that could be to completely switch sides. I think people defend their brand, not because of their fan hood, but just a personal defense of their choice of sides so they dont have to admit that their gear isnt as good 🙂

    just my 2 cents

  13. I think I am a consumer. I purchase gadgets based on your recommendation or I happen upon them out & about. I have found that comments from the people around me to be disturbing. I am not one to argue or defend. I just get quiet & uncomfortable. Example: while using my ipod a few years back a friend said to me, “ya know, there is a cheaper way to listen to your music”. I did not know there was anything other than the ipod. I felt stupid. That was the entire conversation because I shut down. I now wonder which category? Maybe he chose not to buy an ipod & was uncomfortable with me having one. This is a gadget guy who works for Intel & knows more than me on the subject. I have been careful about using my ipod touch around others that I know are choosing not to spend on these types of items. I have had good luck with peoples questions about the features/$ when looking for gifts for loved ones & want my opinion. I have had people attack my financial status saying I should not spend on “that stuff” with my kind of income. I got it as a gift & would not have chosen to spend on it. What kind of people have to go that far anyway. People are going to see whatever they see without looking further & questioning. That is clear in some of these comments. Craziness!

    Terry, The way you break this down has me feel more comfortable in areas I have avoided for years. I don’t feel so intimated & see another side. Your love for this industry makes a difference for countless of others. Thank you for your support & giving of your time & attention when really you don’t HAVE to. MANY people of your knowledge do not pay it forward as YOU choose to for us. I know it takes from your personal moments when you would rather be doing something else or nothing. I appreciate your acceptance of me in my lack of interest in the gadget media. I apologize for relying so heavily on you because of my lack of responsibility to research solutions. I am committed to using the tools you recommend to make my life easier. YOU ROCK!

  14. This past weekend I went on the Apple forum on Craigslist, because I didn’t like one of the features about the trackpad on my new MacBook Pro, and I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off. I posted my question, and within a half hour or so a user named Macintalk figured out how I could turn it off. When I posted my thank you reply to their post, I also mentioned how annoying the problem I was having with it, and how it also annoyed me that it was so difficult to figure out how to turn off. Well, when the poster named Macintalk read my reply they totally freaked out. This person berated me for saying something negative about Apple, said they regretted that they had hepled me, and went on and on like a complete psychopath. This person when so far as to copy, paste, and repost their response like 20 times in a row. Now, I regularly post on forums to help people out, and get help too, so in many ways this exchange was actually pretty normal so far. I posted something like, “Geeze dude, relax.” Then it got weird. A few minutes later the thread got edited. My posts were all edited to be worded to be totally-Mac-happy-sounding, and the poster named Macintalk’s posts were edited to make him sound like a total angel, and of course, all of the 20 repeated posts they made were gone. It was a really disappointing visit to Craigslist for me. The moderator over there, whoever they are (Macintlak perhaps?), only allows Consumers, Apologists, and Fanboys to post. They love Apple so much that Regular Users are edited away. 1984, baby. 1984.

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