Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Fanboys Are Crazy

What is a "fanboy?" A fanboy is usually a male fan of ___________ who becomes obsessed and acts overexcited, overly-passionate, and over-protective of whatever they are obsessing over.

Many people associate "fanboy" with the gaming world. But these days, it seems fanboys have taken over just about everything.

And fanboys are no longer just "boys" anymore. Just think back to when the Twilight series came out and all the girls (and their mothers) were literally FREAKING out over the books and movies.

Most recently, I've been hearing from all the Star Wars fanboys who are having aneurisms over The Last Jedi. It's one thing to not like a movie, or even hate it enough to say they are quitting the franchise or boycotting anything Disney. They feel betrayed by the director and by Disney for not portraying their favorite characters in ways that they expected or demanded.

Why are people so obsessed with stuff lately? Whether they have to buy the latest and greatest Apple product, or if everything they wear has to be Nike...fanboy-ism is all around us.

Big companies know how psychology works, and they market their products in such a way to strike a nerve and make us want to buy them. Then they work hard to make customers loyal customers. For many of us, it stops there. But to a certain percentage of these loyal customers, they take brand loyalty to a whole new level.

Psychologists believe that fanboy-level obsession stems from the social identity phenomenon. The social identity theory is essentially how your idea of who you are is derived from the group you connect with. Christians, athletes, Liberals, Californians, Vegans, Dallas Cowboy Fans....it doesn't matter what the group is. People tend to extend preferential treatment to those in their group and develop an "us vs them" mentality if competition is involved (i.e. Apple vs Android).

We live in a world that wants us to pick a side. We also now live in a world that expects us to defend whatever side you pick with extreme rigor. Everything seems so extreme these days, doesn't it? Fanboys place their identities with "their side" to the point where any criticism they receive is either flatly discounted, denied, argued against, and then redirected right back at the critic. Fans of opposing teams will fight in the stands. Opposing political parties will beat each other up in the streets. Longtime friend with opposing views will un-friend each other on Facebook.

It's the job of marketers, brand managers, and campaigners to persuade and entice people to join "their side," and they have been amazingly good at it. Then again, our desire to belong and be a part of an exclusive community makes us easy targets.

We are living in the Age of Fanboys.

God help us.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

"A Plague 'O Both Your Houses"

Happy Belated New Year!

I planned on posting at least once before today, but like many across the country, I got sick. I'm not exactly sure what I had. The flu has been hitting America pretty hard, but I'm not sure I actually had influenza. I had a horrible respiratory thing, and then it went away on Christmas Eve and Day, and then I most definitely had a sinus infection knock me down hard.

I'm on the road to recovery, although this lingering cough is such a pain.

With the new year upon us, I've got some awesome things in the works.

Quixotic Publishing will be putting all three books in our Black-Eyed Kids series together into one boxed set. It's always sad finishing a series, although we're not done with this "world" yet. The Black-Eyed Kids trilogy is part of a larger series titled the Dark Projects. You all know how I love the paranormal, and I've got a conspiracy theorist streak in me, so this series is going to be a lot of fun.

Here's our boxed set:

I'm also up to my ears on edits of the first spin-off novel of Dark Projects, Gateway Mothman. This is a book that I've been thinking about for many years. In fact, I first posted about the Mothman back in 2005 here on the 'ol blog. It's hard to believe that it's taken this long to finally get this story out there.

The cover art is currently a work in progress, and I can't wait to see how the finished product looks:

How about you? What projects are you working on? What are some things you're looking to tackle in 2018? If you're like me, just trying not to get sick is priority #1.