First up I just want to say that my house is full of Apple gear, from my toaster which regularly stops my toast burning despite my love of burnt toast, to my doorbell which is an actual recording of Steve Jobs’ dying breath. I’m telling you this because I’m about to make a shock horror statement which follows on from my obvious title about going against the grain and rooting for the underdog.
I just switched to an Android toilet. Why? Well I would like you to know that this is an entirely personal choice which I have written in italics for emphasis. Despite my obvious linkbaiting above, I’m negating any constructive rebuttals to my argument by noting how ~personal~ it is and thus none of your business. And you care. And you’ll Like it on Facebook, Tweet it from the rooftops, upvote it on HackerNews and I’ll be footing my largest bandwidth bill ever before you can say Sergey Brin.
If this seems ridiculous to you then maybe you’ll see why I’m sick of your mobile OS opinions.
Do you care why I use an iPhone? Would you like me to go into great detail about the sudden change of heart I had when picking an iOS device? No? So could someone tell me why these articles like this 24100.net article by Ralf Rottmann are still doing the rounds? Here he champions Nexus 4 and the latest version of Android over previous favourite Apple and the results were sent hurtling to the top of HackerNews before being republished by Gizmodo for even more people to sigh and argue about.
The formula is very similar for most of these self-justifying prophecies, and depending on the perceived weight of the author – be it MG Siegler with his infamous TechCrunch article about the Galaxy Nexus or the Nexus 7 and Ralf’s aforementioned attempt at shocking us all with his sudden mobile OS U-turn.
I once felt it necessary to inform the world and his neighbour about what mobile operating system they should be using. I went as far as writing an opinion piece outlining my one-sided views about iOS being the superior choice for those in the market for a smartphone. These days I am tired of the same-old arguments for and against things that make very little difference to real world sales, reviews and perceptions.
When I wrote that article, I genuinely believed people cared about my arguments for Apple’s polished walled garden over the wild meadow of freedom offered by Android devices. If a friend asked me for an honest opinion, I’d let them have it but gone are the days of link-baiting to incense the “opposition” in the name of an iOS or Android circle-jerk.
These days I sigh and shrug off these sorts of articles, but they continue to surface.
But really, who cares? You’ll make your own mind up at the end of the day, and the vast majority of these articles are boring and worn-out arguments with comment sections that make YouTube look like a children’s playground. Let’s give it a rest.
Your Formula Is Boring
I’m going to go through the process of writing an article of this ilk, because I believe you can get it down to a fine formula.
First up you’ll need to emphasis your open-mindedness, which can be accomplished by telling everyone how many devices you own that go against the overall message contained within your article, in this case we’ll use apples.
Apples are so awesome, I’ve got every type from Granny Smith to Royal Gala and even a Cox. If you were to look at my fruit bowl, you’d see that apples play an incredibly important part of my life, with much of my dietary habits revolving around what I have long felt to be God’s greatest fruit.
Next up come your credentials and real-world use. Perhaps you’re a prolific blogger, with opinions seeping from every pore and a Twitter feed that looks like a running commentary of your every waking moment who you can’t fart without telling your followers. You could also be a developer with technical knowledge, possibly specialising in the “opposition” who has recently seen the light.
It’s also fine to be a “normal” guy, but you’ll need to big yourself up a bit so don’t forget to mention your love of cycling GPS apps or enthusiast-level knowledge of meteorology. It also helps if you own a lot of devices or have long-held opinions about the suitability of a certain OS, and it’s good to introduce the underdog at this point – we’ll go for oranges.
I’ve been in the apple business for years and am so indoctrinated I often find myself taking weekend trips to orchards. I’ve been to a few citrus groves before, but I always feel the experience comes up short, lacking the shine and satisfaction that comes from a ripe Golden Delight.
Next is the hook – your double-take moment. Short sentences are best. They mean you’re talking business.
Last weekend I had a change of heart. I filled my fruit bowl… with satsumas.
Without getting too ridiculous, the rest of your article should be spent waxing lyrical about your favourite aspects of oranges, and how apples seem to be suddenly coming up short. Ignore any inclination that as human beings we sometimes like a change, and barrel onwards with your positives. Undermine your previous favourite choice, or at the very least place them on equal standing.
The peel of a satsuma means the fruit doesn’t bruise easily like an apple does, and the bite-sized chunks are suddenly easier to consume than a full-on hand-fruit. Both apples and oranges have a sharp but sweet taste, and so the oranges tick the same boxes as my previous favourite despite being completely different and on the whole subjective.
Everyone encounters a few issues, but be sure to gloss over them. Your particular problems can be overcome either by changing your usage or putting in extra work. This should seem easy, even if to some people it’s not.
You can’t always tell if an orange has shrivelled and dried up before you open it, but they’re so cost-effective that I can simply carry a few with me to get around this problem. My own preferences for high quality satsumas overrides the often disappointing range on offer so I can ignore the other sub-standard citrus fruits on offer.
Finally you might want to start to redress the balance of your article by adding a few statements about how apples are still dear to your heart and maybe your current phase of orange obsession will come to an end. In every other industry this is known as “covering your ass” but in tech writing it’s a fallback measure for rebutting comments. You should probably finish by reiterating your truly personal choice that might not work for others, despite the strong opinions you’ve put across in your article.
Reviews and personal experience dictate sales, and really they should be the only things that make a difference. A knowledgable reviewer should sum up the pros and cons enough for you to formulate an opinion, which should be cemented or rebuked when you finally get your hands on the product. Everyone has an opinion, and most people’s are no more valid than your own – so why elevate these articles beyond the facts?
Do you agree or is this just another stupid opinion that makes little real-world difference… or was that the point? Add your thoughts in the comments, below.
Image Credits: Intro image (Tsahi Levent-Levi), Bumper Stickers (Randy Robertson), Baby Crying (William Droops), Appdroid & Andople (Tsahi Levent-Levi), Red Orange Green (Michael Fawcett), Fruit Salad (madlyinlovewithlife)