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In gadget we trust

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | Dec. 12, 2014
The allegiance that some of us have for certain operating systems, gadgets and programs can seem like religious fervor. There might be a reason this is so.

With so many technology companies in our heads, perhaps the wonder is that we don't have more fights over technologies!

After all, as Cutright observed, people don't see Apple, Google or Microsoft as brands that are separate from them. They see them as emblematic of their very personality, indeed of their fundamental beliefs.

That explains a lot. When people get totally worked up over their defense of, say, their Microsoft Surface Pro 3, it's not because they've calmly and rationally decided it's the best available device; it's because they've found their self-worth as a Microsoft supporter.

To tell them that a MacBook Air is better causes them to react with rage because they take it as a personal attack. Sure, to any outside observer, these kinds of arguments may appear inane, or even insane as the intensity creeps up, but for the people involved in them, it strikes close to the core of their identity.

Is it any wonder, then, when this level of commitment is invoked by a gadget, program or operating system that people grow so impassioned?

If we would all acknowledge this dynamic, maybe we could take a step back when we find ourselves getting enraged over a disagreement about what, after all, is not really us. You may hold a deep regard for your iPhone 6 Plus, but realize that it's just a gadget, and in fact it will be out of date by next year, with the arrival of the iPhone 7, and obsolete in three years' time.

Let's save the outrage for things with a bit more durability than that. And let's can the rape and death threats entirely.


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