Note: I apologize in advance that this post got a little out of hand; sue me. It’s a rant.
There is another web portal that purports to be a BBRY fan site and provides the basic services of forums, articles and sells merchandise. This portal was originally founded as a BBRY exclusive site and operated that way for several years until it became a cross platform site. The founder was the self proclaimed “biggest BBRY fan,” or something of that nature, until he gave up the helm of the BBRY section of the site, at which time he became something else, the nature of which has become the subject of significant conversation amongst actual BBRY fans and other mobile technology enthusiasts. I put together a post on what a “fan” is and how that differs from a “user” and even attempted an objective definition of “troll,” which I thought wasn’t half bad, here. BTW, that’s also a long post. Oh well.
This post is in response to a thread in the forums of that site that discusses the aforementioned owner whom was recently involved in a press interview with several news outlets that were covering the release of the new iPhone. This owner paid someone for the device whom had waited in line some number of hours and was apparently first. The thread contains the bickering, lack of logic/rationality, and veiled derision so typical of the forum there, and having surveyed several pages of the same arguments being repeated and the same people ignoring each other and generally not changing their positions, I decided that the comments I wanted to make would be better made here. I do not visit that site anymore, but was prompted by one of our UTB founders to check this thread out. The UTB founder was given his third ‘ban’ if I’m not mistaken, and if you review what he said, assuming it’s even still up, you could not conclude there was any validity to the ban, but that’s another story.
Although there was a fair amount of content in that thread, many issues under discussion, and many instances of totally illogical and untenable assertions or conclusions drawn, I want to pick out one comment that was made by one of their “ambassadors,” and try and elucidate why I think it’s utterly illogical and even falls within the bounds of conspiratorial propaganda. I think this comment has been made many times over the years on that portal and is worth debunking. Maybe you already know why it’s bunk, but please read on anyway and give me a comment below because I might have missed something.
“It’s just a phone,” is what this “ambassador” said to someone in the thread who was promoting and defending BBRY and essentially taking the obvious position that what the “biggest BlackBerry fan” had done was ultimately harmful to BBRY and thoughtless, irresponsible, and stupid, or alternatively, malevolent, mischievous, and manipulative, depending on what his intent was. I suspect this comment, “it’s just a phone,” has been made myriad times over the past couple years, in an attempt to dispel a cogent argument a real BBRY fan made for BBRY. One that the moderators, “ambassadors,” and other trolls could not logically refute, and I thought it would be fun to count the ways that it is a ridiculous, illogical, and even propagandist and conspiratorial statement. I say propagandist and conspiratorial because it is very easy for a rational person to conclude that there is an undertone of intent to harm BBRY at this web portal, or at the very least, a consistent negligent harming of BBRY in order to increase advertising revenues. So, here are a couple of the ways that statement is what the late, great General H. Norman Schwarzkopf might call, BOVINE SCATOLOGY, or B.S.
- The statement implies phones are unimportant, or irrelevant, not a “big deal,” if you like. If this were true, why would people (including the “ambassador” who made the statement), spend so much time on a web portal centered on this irrelevant thing? Does this “ambassador” spend time on the concrete forum at www.decorativeconcrete.com? Is she a member of the sod forums at www.turfgrass.com? Is she an “ambassador” at the drywall forum at www.tapingandjointing.com? Most certainly not. Why? Because those actually ARE things that are irrelevant to her. No. She is an “ambassador” at ClickBaitBerry because she loves her mobile phone. So “No,” lady. It’s NOT “just a phone.” For you or anyone else who spends any significant amount of time on a mobile technology forum.
There ARE people who believe mobile devices are “just phones,” but they are not spending significant time on mobile tech forums and establishing “identities” and “titles” and the like, in these communities. If they have a problem, they call their carrier or visit the iStore or whatever. While there may be some people on these forums, who really don’t care much about what brand device they use, they are the exception, not the rule. Another point worth mentioning is that there are MANY web portals dedicated exclusively or to a large extent, to mobile technology. Sites like Phonedog, CNet, Engadget, Wired, etc. all either specialize in mobile tech or have a significant coverage of the issue, and all have thriving contents where people “vote for their favorite” device and forums and article comments where people get fairly animated. To say “it’s just a phone,” is at best disingenuous.
This is where the propaganda/conspiracy comes in.
- This statement almost invariably has nothing to do with the conversation at hand. It is almost universally made when there is no logical way to refute the argument made by the other party, again, almost universally, a BBRY fan (at that site anyway). For this statement to logically apply to the ‘argument,’ the BBRY fan would have to be asserting that phones are important, or something of that nature, but in this and most other cases, that is NOT what the BBRY fan is portending. If my argument to you is that all pigs are smart, and my premises are that some pigs do smart things, and all pigs share the same biology, and you say, “it’s just a pig,” then you’re not addressing anything in my argument. You’re making a different argument altogether. What you’re trying to do is dispel my argument by saying it doesn’t matter, or it’s unimportant; “who cares,” in essence.
Here’s an excerpt from the Wiki on propaganda:
Propaganda is information that is not impartial and used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively (thus possibly lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or using loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented.
While it doesn’t seem what’s going on over there fits every aspect of the definition, it would seem there is enough similarity to use the term propaganda loosely at the very least. Is “it’s just a phone,” an impartial statement in the context in which it was used? (No) Was it trying to influence an audience and further an agenda? (Yes, it seems so) Did the “ambassador” try and encourage a particular synthesis or produce an emotional rather than rational response? (Yes, it would seem so)
There is no Wiki on conspiracy, but if you look up the definition in different places, you’ll find a few common themes, which are it is ‘intentional,’ ‘secretive,’ and ‘harmful.’ I do not claim that a bunch of the higher ups at ClickBaitBerry got together and said, “Let’s hurt BBRY,” BUT, I wouldn’t be surprised if they got together in some BBM group and shared the common understanding that throwing BBRY under the bus in their forums is generating a ton of page views, which is generating a lot of advertising revenue. In any event, here is the aspect of the conspiracy definition that I think definitely applies, whether the others do or not. This is from www.thefreedictionary.com, but something similar is also reflected on www.dictionary.reference.com:
A joining or acting together, as if by sinister design: (e.g.) a conspiracy of wind and tide that devastated coastal areas.
This is where conspiracy really comes into play on ClickBaitBerry. It’s very possible that it’s merely an organic thing that happened over time where the BBRY portion of the site was managed by someone or someone(s) who didn’t really care about BBRY much, or were not FANS, and allowed a fair amount of vitriol and derision towards BBRY to take hold during a time when only the most faithful had hope for BBRY’s resurgence. Eventually, this grew into the “joining or acting together” of the definition above. What you get is akin to what happens when you don’t weed your garden.
I will cut myself off so people don’t bust my chops in the comments for the length of this post, anymore than they may already. Visiting that site just reinforced why I stopped visiting in the first place, which is in part, due to the brain damage one gets by having to read idiotic comments like the one above, particularly, when they’re made by an “ambassador.” You know, in the overall scheme of things, it really IS just a phone. I mean as much as I love my Q10 and Z30, they pale in comparison to my health and my family, but you can’t claim they’re unimportant inside a forum dedicated to people who are passionate about their devices, when you clearly are as well. The forum wouldn’t exist were it not for that passion and their site would earn no money were they not pimping all their users out by intentionally creating or just allowing the vitriol and brain damage that goes on there regularly to bump up their page views.
If you can think of some doozys that are said regularly, please leave them in the comments; I’d love to catalog them for a possible upcoming post.