Friday, June 09, 2006

You've probably heard of speed dating? If you haven't, watch Hitch (that Will Smith romantic comedy that came out) or I can just describe it in less words than I've already used: talk to someone for 5 minutes, bell rings, rotate to the next person, repeat.

But have you heard of SpeedGeeking?

It's a type of unconference.

I found it when looking up the meaning of the word "unconference" (another of those "podcast" words that means something a lot more simple than it would seem: a conference driven by participants. AKA: a meeting? Why do geeks need to keep making up new words? And these so-called social networkers think they're all about open communication!?)

So, speedgeeking.
Now, I'm going to teach all of you non-tech-geeks (including myself, apparently, because I just read about this) something REALLY useful, so pay attention!

It's another way of meeting other geeks, naturally. And you also find out about the new nerdy ideas and projects that they're working on. It's supposed to focus on technology that's being used for social change, but I'm sure it's just any software that's mildly interesting. And really, though it's supposed to be about things that you're developing, if they don't have enough demo'ers, then you can demo something that you just, well, LIKE.

There are 2 sides to the groups: geekers (demo'ers) and participants (listeners/viewers).

I almost wish that I were nerdy enough to have something to demo.
I just can't figure out where most people find the time!

I find it odd that people in my industry - and I do love the Web - spend so much time on it. They build sites that no one really goes to. They post and post and post... about marketing and what's cool and what's happening and they make up new words.

And I really wonder why.
I mean, I suppose I'm a hypocrite because I blog too and that's maybe kind of nerdy and one might ask what the point is. But I've always had a journal and it's really no different. (OK, it's a little different because I still write the more personal stuff in my offline journal.)

But why has this sector become so hot, so saturated with the ultra-hip? And WHY, when all of this is supposed to democratize the Web, are we making up new words for things that can already be easily described?

I'll tell you why: we want to seem like we're better than everyone else because we're "in on it."

I salute people who are excited by these social technologies, as I salute anyone who's passionate about anything. I wonder if they've ever really thought about whether this is a worthwhile endeavour. If this is all about marketing, then I quit. But if this is just a fun hobby, then let's stop all this ridiculous hype.

Do quilters have the same cheerleading section and media coverage?
When they make money off of their creations, these artists and crafters, is anyone thinking that they're geniuses? Their quilting bees and conferences aren't so publicized. When a quilter makes a career of it, no one gets all crazy and says "ohmygosh, they discovered a new way of making a quilt, this is going to revolutionize bed coverings for generations to come!"

I mean: do they?

Admittedly, Web2.0 (another stupid term defined in an earlier post) is not the same thing. This is about communication, not linens. Still. This sense of self-importance is a bit much to take. It's just people doing their job.

1 comment:

raye said...

Interesting observation about language and "being in on it". Find the book The Doubter's Companion by John Ralston Saul and check out his definition of dialect ... he posits the idea that language is crafted by "experts" (in any field) for the sole purpose of exclusion.