Friday, March 11, 2005


The term FUD is interesting to me. Since I learned of it I've begun to see it everywhere. Sort of like the VW bug phenomenon. I most often see it in the context of M$ and Linux, but lately it seems to be cropping up everywhere: social security reform, and unfortunately my sentimental favorite computer company, Apple, sued a blogger for revealing info it wanted to keep to itself.

This prompted me to ponder the usefulness and purpose of this particular tactic. It seems to me that the only benefit that derives from FUD is to either temporarily hold on to an edge until you can meet/beat to competition (that is, you've got something in the works but it's not yet ready for primetime) or the entire basis of a thesis is untenable and when you don't have the facts, you need to divert attention from that fact.

In the case of Bush's 'so-called' social security reform, it is obviously the latter. Any reasonable exploration of the facts suggests that social security is not in any danger or at the minimum can be perpetuated with minor adjustments to the system rather than a wholesale give away to Republican benefactors like Wall Street investment bankers. With respect to the Iraq *cough* conflict, I'll say no more than ..... where exactly are the WMDs and what is was the rationale for invading a country whose "leader" was just fine a few president's back when the US was more than happy to provide chemical and biological weapons?

Regarding, M$ and Apple, I detect a little more of the initial argument but just barely. Strange how M$ starts losing market share to that darn upstart Firefox when it finally releases some PR on the upcoming vaporware IE update that will solve every problem that ever existed with previous versions of IE (except for not being W3C compliant, of course) and how the Longhorn , the much *yawn* anticipated OS from M$ will of course be better, superior and more secure than Linux (which gets more user friendly for both business and the average users every single day). These projects were probably in the works before Firefox was generally released and FUD is a useful and effective marketing strategy to hold off conversion to open source versions of software that M$ sells for outrageous prices (but hey, that's just me).

I think what I'm most disappointed in is Apple's suit of a blog that reported news about it's upcoming mini iPod before it did. I've always been a fan of Apple. I grew up with the Mac. I still have my Mac and was/am still amazed at how prescient and innovative it's products were/are. Before I even knew what a modem was my Mac had one that I was just able to plug into the prepubescent incoherency we currently know as the 'NET'. It is a sad day when I feel compelled to chastise Apple for FUD practices.

Let information - accurate information - be free! Let it all hang out and allow the public, using unbiased information, make their choices. Isn't that what a true democracy and/or free market is supposed to do?!

Oooooh Sorry, I forgot. I do not live in this ideal world inside my head. I live in the Hegemonic States of America (HSA).


socialsomatic said...

Re: FUD; look up "terror management theory," for a reasonable theoretical take on the general phenomenon.

tim said...

There's plenty about FUD in the marketing literature too, where they are pretty explicit about how and why it works as a method...

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