Last week I wrote one of my most popular articles on Medium. And by ‘popular’, I’m simply referring to how much commentary it encouraged from the audience.
To date, it has received 77 comments, and as noted in my follow-up piece, nearly every single one of them disagrees with what I had to say about my desire for the Apple TV to be pulled from the shelves.
But there are two statistics that have bothered me somewhat. According to Medium, my Why Apple Needs to Cancel the Apple TV article also received 387 claps and has 71 fans.
If I subtract the three (a rough guess) comments I received that were in agreement with my opinion on the Apple TV, that leaves me with an article that has almost as many fans as it does detractors.
So, why did so few of those 71 fans decide not to comment?
I don’t mind people disagreeing with me
In hindsight, I actually think my original article on the Apple TV was rather short-sighted, and many of the comments I received were quick to point that out. It was badly researched and poorly informed (I admitted that I haven’t used an Apple TV for many years). That’s clearly something I need to work on. Hell, I probably need to actually buy an Apple TV and use it.
However, it was my opinion, and I’m allowed one, just as much as my audience is.
This is something you start to experience regularly when you become more prominent within the Apple content scene; the company’s die-hard loyalist fans often have a hard time acknowledging others’ opinions.
It was a comment from a reader on my follow-up article which prompted me to write this today.
“Many Apple fans are like that. If they hear any alternative opinion they start reacting like Apple’s point of view is the only one possible.”
That sums it up so neatly. The vast majority of the opposing comments I received failed to acknowledge that my opinion was valid but at odds with their own. And the respondents were clearly smart people; I doubt very much they’d approach such debates in the same way if they were held in person.
I’ve always been taught that it’s polite to acknowledge the opinions of others – even if you vehemently disagree with them. It’s partly why I wrote the original article; I wanted to see if my opinion rested within the majority or sat among the minority.
I’m not asking anyone to go and fetch a violin or pass me a tissue. I’m raising this point today because I think the approach taken by some brand loyalists stifles debate. I can say this confidently because if Medium’s stats are correct, there were clearly many people who agreed with what I had to say but who remained completely silent.
The silent fans
There are plenty of reasons why the 71 fans of my article decided to remain silent. They perhaps didn’t feel the need to comment (that’s cool), or they may have been distracted by a more exciting article (that’s cool, too).
It might also be due to the simple fact that the people who disagree with you are usually far more vocal than those who agree. Having worked for many years in marketing, I know that’s a fact of life.
But I do wonder if some of those fans scrolled through the comment thread and thought it best not to get involved. Clearly, they’d have been outnumbered.
It would have been a little bit like wading into a post-match referee-bashing session undertaken by a bunch of strangers and claiming that, maybe, he had a point with that second penalty decision.
I don’t really have any hard evidence to base this on, bar one or two comments on my follow-up article which referenced the fact that the author decided not to comment on the first piece, before revealing that they too had issues with the Apple TV.
Why did they feel unable to air their opinion originally?
I want a wholesome debate
Medium is a wonderful platform. The responses to my Apple TV article taught me a lot and made me question my analysis of what is clearly a popular Apple product.
This is important; it’s how I learn, grow and improve as a content creator. I love constructive criticism. I just wish the comment thread on my Apple TV article revealed the balanced debate I think may have been bubbling beneath the surface.
I’m not sure what the answer to this is, other than for me to offer a gentle plea to the die-hard Apple loyalists to try and see through the lens of the person who doesn’t think in the same way about the brand.
Because you know what? It’s ok to think differently about Apple.