Obsessing over all things Apple used to be a lonely place. Through the 1990s, in the “No Steve Era”, there was a seemingly small group that would discuss the benefits of CyberDog and OpenDoc, run Kaleidoscope themes to show the futuristic Copland interface, engage in live IRC chats during Apple earnings calls, boot the BeOS on our Macs off Zip disks and seek out the Apple logo in TV shows and movies, trading e-mails when we spotted one.
But in the last decade, the Apple world has changed, and we are surrounded by a multitude of people and press who are following Steve Jobs’ every move. What used to be the realm of MacOSRumors is now strutted about in CNET, the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press. We have open debates about the iPhone, iPod and iTunes in cover stories on Newsweek and Time. And Apple stock is achieving all-time highs, seemingly every day. Rather than root for the old days, I thought I’d add some helpful, lesser-known tips to the new Apple fans among us, so that they can help spread the Macintosh religion.
1. Never Admit Fault With Apple Around Non-Mac People
Is your computer running slowly? Are you seeing application crashes and annoyances? Sometimes it does happen, even on a Mac. If you are experiencing issues, the last thing you want to do is grouse about them in front of a Windows bigot or Linux fan. Even if it’s not the Mac’s fault, they will say, “Oh, I see. A Mac! No wonder…” or some derivative that will only reinforce their opinions. Instead, first, troubleshoot the issue on your own time. Failing resolution, consult with a fellow Mac fan under the cover of darkness, or slink into an Apple Store and have a conversation with a Mac genius. And if it turns out that the issues were due to an older machine, then by all means, upgrade and tell everyone how great your new machine is!
2. Make Your Apple Usage Visible
If you are a Macintosh island in a world of Windows, sometimes the quiet, but visible approach is all you need. Bring your MacBook to staff meetings, even if all you’re doing is taking notes. If the office provides you a Dell laptop, bring in the Apple notebook instead, and leave the Dell at home, saying that the Windows PC simply isn’t fast enough, or doesn’t run the applications you need to, or it crashes too much. Don’t be noisy about it, but always, when asked, reaffirm why it is that you have made your decision, and let them know it can deliver them the same level of productivity and self-satisfaction.
3. Present the Apple Logo in a Good Light
Apple stickers are not for everybody. While Apple provides stickers with every new Mac and iPod, slapping an Apple logo on your dirty 1991 Datsun doesn’t do the brand any favors. Instead, consider buying a new car if you are in this conundrum. If you do have a car worthy of the Apple logo, be sure that your car is kept clean, that the Apple logo is prominently displayed, and most importantly, be sure that you drive confidently, without erratic moves, just slightly faster than the flow of traffic. You will want to pass people by so that the Apple logo is exposed to the greatest audience, but also so they see that Mac people are inherently faster.
4. Don’t Sound Too Eager
It’s one thing to be have confidence, and quite another to be a drooling fanatic. As an Apple fan, do not engage in flame wars online. They will only make the opposition hate you more. As an Apple fan, don’t recite the lines from the latest Mac vs. PC commercial. Be aware of the content, but don’t have a poster of Justin Long in your cubicle. If you see friends or colleagues struggling with a PC virus, offer your help and condolences, and sound perplexed, as if you’re not familiar with viruses, rather than screaming from the rooftops about your inherent superiority.
5. Do Your Homework. People Will Expect an Expert
The worst thing you can be as an Apple fanboy is an ignorant fanboy. If you’re approached and asked how you can connect your MacBook to the company’s Exchange server, be sure you know the answer. Expect to be asked questions about the latest Steve Jobs keynote or product release. Be sure you’ve seen the keynote the day it is presented, because the questions may start that evening or the next day. An inattentive Apple fan is not a good advocate. Even if you’re not going to buy the product, be sure you’ve read Apple.com and can talk to its benefits. Understand the limitations of Windows and incorporate them in your answers about the Mac platform. Know the enemy.
With the right training, you can be a great Mac advocate and fanboy. You can also overdo it, so be careful in what you say, what you do and how you portray yourself and the platform. Keep in mind that you are an example to others in the world of computing. To whom much is given, much is expected, and Apple has given you quite a bit. Be sure that you do not fold under the pressure.