A reality check for people who 'love' tech companies

Emotional attachment to corporations goes right past silly to, well, pathetic

I was reading an article over at CrackBerry.com on Monday about Research in Motion's recall of nearly 1,000 PlayBook tablets that had defective operating systems. This was the first comment beneath the article:

"I love you RIM. Stay strong boo!"

"Stray strong boo"? (How about, "Get your act together boo"?)

When it comes to irrational love of a corporation, though, can anyone top the gushing Apple fanboys?

For example, there's a whole Facebook page called "I have an iPhone, and thats why I love Apple."

Meanwhile, here's a Twitter account called I Love Apple.

And -- if you can believe it -- there's even a Twibbon campaign called "I Love Microsoft Loves Me" that has 50,000 supporters! Oh, wait, it's only 50. Still, 50 sadly misguided people is 50 too many!

Many of these on- and offline expressions of love for tech corporations come from company shills, no doubt. But that's probably only a tiny percentage. And maybe a lot of the "real" people use the word "love" loosely, not meaning it literally.

I'll grant you that. But one measure of true devotion is how a person responds when a "loved one" is perceived to be under attack. Let's return to the CrackBerry article, in which a commenter dared to criticize the BlackBerry Storm 2 (BTW, the commenter also said "I loved my original Storm until it died" and "I've been an avid fan of BB for many years," so clearly he's not a RIM basher). Here's one of the replies to his comment:

"Hey A-hole stopped reading after this point, since clearly you don't own a playbook and don't know what you are talking about. After your no doubt bitchy ignorant (in the true sense of the word) rant, you are going to confess you are a blackberry fan. Why don't you stop the lies and get the F off of this website.

"The playbook is a rock solid bad ass tablet with the best mobile OS out there, bar none."

Amazing, isn't it? He's getting all worked up because another longtime RIM customer expressed some dissatisfaction with a product. Glad he's saving his passion for the really important things in life.

But for real blowback, try criticizing Apple, as this blogger did in a post titled, "Why I hate Apple." A couple of comments:

"You really seem to have got yourself all twisted and bitter over erroneous information and things you obviously know nothing about. Consequently you seem to have lost complete touch with reality."

and...

"Your comments would make sense if they weren't distorted beyond reason, and were factually correct. For example, we ARE better than you are; we don't just THINK we are. Now, go get some therapy, or switch over to hating something where people can't rebut your arguments. Strawberry ice cream, for example."

So my following comments are directed to the real people who run around "loving" this or that corporation:

You're being played for fools.

It's like this: No corporation is worthy of anyone's genuine "love." Not a single one, because the corporations don't love you back. How could they? They're artificially created, soulless entities with built-in sociopathic tendencies.

What they love is your business and your money. If a corporation expresses any love, or even deep affection, for its customers, it's no different than a hooker's act. You're a john, a mark. It's not a serious relationship, and your misguided affection will not be returned in any real way.

And don't be fooled by marketing people chirping on Twitter or Facebook about their employers' "awesome" customers. It's their job to say that stuff.

Check a corporation's charter sometime and see if there's anything in there about "loving" their customers. I'm fairly certain there won't be. Corporations have an undying devotion to one thing: profits. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, though the fixation on profits to the exclusion of quality control and any sense of social responsibility inarguably creates all kinds of problems for the rest of us.

Now, I'm not saying you can't "love" a product, with "love" being defined as really liking something. That's fine. I own things I "love." I play guitar, and I love my Fender Stratocaster. I love my Taylor acoustic guitar. But that doesn't mean I "love" Fender the company, or Taylor the company. That, quite frankly, would also make me a fool.

To sum up: Apple, RIM, Microsoft, Fender, Taylor, Walmart, General Motors, Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, AT&T, McDonald's, Amazon.com, Allstate, Time Warner, Coca-Cola, etc. -- they don't love you or me. (Especially Bank of America and Exxon Mobil.)

I know this is sobering to hear, and many of you probably will lash out at me. So be it. You need to know the truth.

And if you insist on continuing to "love" a corporation, perhaps you should go rent a room. A word of warning, though: The corporation will be faking it.

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