On being a geek, but not being a geek.

I am going to introduce myself here with two confessions, firstly I am a geek, secondly I am a rubbish geek.  I am the geek equivalent of those aging DJs you meet who own every record ever recorded, yet couldn’t play a single chord if their life depended on it.

Years ago being a geek meant something. Yes you might have been a social outcast, but you had power. The kind of dark Super Villain power only available to those who not only knew what an IP address was, but knew how to obscure it as they dismantled your entire life by emailing your boss/spouse/dog those pictures.

Yet here I am today, in the uniquely modern position of being a geek who doesn’t know what external hard drive I need to buy. Once upon a time a geek wouldn’t even need to buy a hard drive. They would build their own, with an egg cartoon, and then use it to hack into NASAs systems and down a small spacecraft for kicks. I on the other hand sit here staring at the Amazon page wondering what the fuck a terabyte is.

So how does someone, who spends more of her waking life with her Macbook than any living human, someone who could bore you to death with social media statistics, end up knowing so little about the nuts and bolts of the very things that keep her virtual world afloat? I am not the only one.

The evolution of the Internet has taken away our need to think about how it works. You no longer need to be able to write code to run your own blog or website, blogging platforms do all this for us enabling anyone with an Internet connection to simply sign up, and go.

Many of us arrange our entire social and professional lives’ virtually via Facebook or LinkdIn without ever stopping to think who is responsible for hosting all of this data. What even is hosting data? More worryingly, we fail to question what they are doing with it all. The data that is, our data.

We don’t even need to know what we like anymore, Facebook and Google already know. They subtly select, suggest and remind us what we should read, buy next, or whom we should flirt with electronically. You barely even need to be able to even think for yourself to take part in the great digital conversation, the glut of EDL groups on Facebook is a testament to this.

The online world will only get more user friendly, everything from built in link shortening features on Twitter, to Google predicting what we are going to search for before even type it. These things require so little active brainpower these days that most of us could do them in our sleep. It’s up to the real geeks now to ponder what this means for the future of the human race in terms of intelligence and attention span.

We are ultimately a lazy bunch and it is easier than ever to be a geek, in fact you don’t even need to be a geek.

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