Friday, January 28, 2005
I am that hypothetical dork
Via This Modern World
Blogger triumphalism--largely a right-wing phenomenon, as Atrios
noted recently--is just the latest variation on a theme I've been thinking about since watching the Wired magazine crowd in San Francisco in the early 90s. Early adapters are always sure that, having recognized the value of a new technology, they can also foresee the utopia it will inevitably bestow. But it's that last bit that's always problematic. If you had been around when the telephone was invented, and you were an early adapter, you would undoubtedly have been excited by the possibilities--pick up a receiver and talk to anyone, anywhere! Imagine it! And you would have been right--the telephone was a world-changing device. But what you would have been overlooking--what early adapters always overlook--is that while the technology which so excites them does change the world, it also quickly becomes commonplace. Whatever the fabulous new device is, pretty soon everyone adapts it and takes it for granted, and no one is impressed by the dork in the corner who tries to impress girls with the fact that he had a cell phone or an email address several years before most other people. (Said hypothetical dork being a complete straw man for the purposes of this argument, of course.)
close to home.