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TechnoBuffalo Defines: Fanboy

by Emily Price | March 24, 2011March 24, 2011 9:00 am PDT

“Fanboy” is a word that gets thrown around a lot, particularly on tech sites like this one.  So what exactly qualifies someone as a “Fanboy,” or “Fangirl?” The word gets used a lot, but is it being used correctly? We got into the conversation around our virtual office, and came up with some ideas on what we think a fanboy is. Check out what we we think, and then tell us your definition in the comments!

Jack McGrath – Gaming Intern
fan-boy |fəˈnboi|
noun

1. A passionate fan whose obsession results in complete loyalty to a particular company or product. Often used as an insult by fanboys themselves to put down those who prefer using other products regardless of their reason for doing so.

2. A malignant disease brought on by ignorance and lack of common sense. Symptoms include trolling, terrible grammar, THE APPARENT NEED TO WRITE IN ALL CAPS, and childish justifications for foolish alliances.

Sean P. Aune – Editor-in-Chief
I’m not exactly sure where the term “fanboy” (or “fangirl”) took such an ugly turn.  As someone who used to be heavily involved with the comic book industry, the term existed there, but it was always a more jovial term in that case.  Somewhere over the years it became an easy way to dismiss someone quickly for writing something you don’t agree with.  In the tech field it has become associated with writing anything positive about any company.  If I was to take to heart what I am called a “fanboy” over each week, I am apparently a fan of every company that has ever existed.  I write something positive about Microsoft, I’m a Microsoft Fanboy.  I write something positive about Apple, I’m an Apple Fanboy.  It just never stops.

If I’m guilty of anything, it’s being a Technology Fanboy.  I love tech in all of its shapes, sizes and colors.  But to say I am loyal to one company over another just doesn’t cut it:  I’m writing this on a Windows PC, my Android phone is laying next to me charging, and next to that is my iPad.

I think the word fanboy/girl has been hijacked over the years to become an insult, but we should take it back.  Be proud to be a fan, wear your “colors” with pride, and if someone throws the term at you, just simply say, “Why thank you, I really am quite fond of product/company X.”  As for me, I will never be ashamed of of fondness for technology in general.

Emily Price – Senior Editor
I think fanboy is a term someone uses when they don’t understand someone else’s thoughts on a topic. You don’t understand why I like my iPhone, therefore I’m obviously a “Fangirl” because I don’t like the same phone you do. Fact: I am a fan of my phone, but you’re also obviously a fan of yours. Totally unnecessary to point that one out.

Jon Rettinger – President
Fanboy is the new F word.  For whatever reason, a particular brand or product is so closely associated with vocal consumers identity, that liking something different is an affront to their very identity…and they take umbrage.  If I like an Apple product, I’m a Fanboy.  If I like an Android phone, I’m a Fanboy.  If I don’t like webOS, I’m once again a fanboy.  It’s one of those words that gets used so much, it’s lost all meaning to me.  I try to remain objective, and at the end of the day, I like what I like.

Joey Davidson – Video Games Editor
In the world of gaming, fanboy is that dirty word that gets tossed around comment sections on every blog in every corner of the internet. Typically reserved for the angry discourse of not-so-friendly readers, the word is an insult. Despite that, most gamers in comment sections subscribe wholly to only one console instead of investing equally in each. Are they fanboys?

Fanboy’s almost become cliché for gamers. They’ve actually started inventing unique words specific to each console: Xbot, PS3tard and Nintendrone. Isn’t the internet grand?

Noah Kravitz – Editor-at-Large
A fanboy is the bane of a tech writer’s existence.

So, what do you think? Give us your own definition in the comments below!


Emily Price

Emily has been obsessed with computers since the early 80s when she discovered she could play Ghostbusters on her father's Commodore 64. She...

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