What is a fanboy?

Like art, I know a fanboy when I see one.

A picture named kirk.jpgHaving been an active participant in The Internets since I was a grad student in the late 70s, I’ve met more than one or two. I swear I am not myself a fanboy for anything. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good fanboy rant. I’ve come to appreciate it as an art. An evolving thing.

Why is this a current topic? Well, the other day I saw a tweet by Marco Arment that struck me as a prototype. Apple had just experienced some kind of security breach. A fluid situation. Marco found the silver lining. No matter how bad it looks, there’s some good news in there. I remarked that a fanboy always finds a silver lining. I felt this observation was worth a tweet. To me a tweet is like a Kleenex. Not something that requires a lot of forethought. I hoped, if it offended, it would be lightly brushed aside with a smile perhaps. 😉

He seemed to take offense. I was slightly surprised. Because inside me I think of Marco as a master of the art. Of all the fans of Apple, he and John Gruber stand head and shoulders above the rest. They’re so good at it. It’s their business model, in fact.

The Urban Dictionary site defines a fanboy as: “A passionate fan of various elements of geek culture but who lets his passion override social graces.”

My opinion is the negative part of that is obsolete. We live in times of extreme behavior and social graces aren’t what they once were. The NSA lacks social graces a billion times more than Apple fanboys do. Drones! $10 million weddings. Thomas Friedman lacks social graces. The Republican Party. 😉

There’s definitely an art to the way people appreciate Apple. If their amateur promoters aren’t fanboys, what are they?


About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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