Everyone has that one situation, where you are discussing the online services you use, and someone has to ruin the party by saying that the service you have been satisfied with for years on in is absolutely terrible, and you are a bad person for choosing such. My online life has certainly been no exception, and while I have sadly been on the delivering end of such rants (mostly during my more aggressive late teens and early twenties) I have always been one to feel that what works for a person is just that: what works for them, and their decisions of services don’t say anything about them beyond what they do and don’t like. I will of course let someone know what service I use, and why I choose it over others, and I will also, of course, let them know if I think another service will do them better, but I will never go so far as to insult them simply because they have a different method of doing things.
Let me tell you a story from a few months ago. One guy I knew a while back was quite the tech guru, and forward thinking individual. I of course, tend to be more of a traditionalist, only deviating from tried and true methods where I feel it suits my greater interests. As a side effect, I use a hotmail account I have had since 2004 for my general email. This is what has worked for me for almost a decade now, so I feel there is no need to change it. Now, this email is, of course, synced to my android based cell phone.
Now, the default android mail application was terrible. I got tired quickly of having to manually delete each and every email, so I was looking around for alternatives. My first find, and the option I naturally went with, was the Hotmail app by Microsoft. Beyond it being designed by Microsoft for their own services, it had the exact feature I was looking for: it automatically deletes email after a set period of time. In this case, I only wanted email stored on the phone for 24 hours: any older than that, and it would still be in my online inbox, and synced to the Thunderbird application on my desktop computer. Effective notification of new email while I am out, but nothing to manage; a Win-Win situation.
I posted about it on Twitter, that I recommended the app as a good mobile email solution. That’s when the trouble started. Immediately, the person I mentioned earlier asked me why I didn’t just use Gmail, like he does. I replied to him that I had no reason to go through the hassle of changing information on over a dozen websites and services, that the email service I used had nothing to do with the application in question (remember, my original problem was that the default android mail app required too much management of each individual message).
Without going into details or exposing the exact message (the conversation still exists on twitter, if one was to hunt hard enough), I will simply say that the conversation devolved into an odd level of intuitiveness, with me basically being belittled because I choose a service different from the one they used. I was surprised, seeing as, again, the service provider had nothing to do with the point of the original tweet, which was simply that I believed the app was well designed and highly usable as compared to what I had been using before.
This happens all too often, it would seem. Arbitrary hate for the choices people make. Almost evangelical devotion to companies that, the last I checked, didn’t really care about anything more than you buying their products or services. People would do well to remember that we do have choices, and that no solution to anything is perfect.