“Oh my God, you’re such a geek!”
It wasn’t so long ago that this was the biggest insult someone could ever say to another person. However, in this new technological era, more and more people are geeks, even though they would never ever admit this to anyone, not in that exact terminology anyway. Being a geek is considered the norm now rather than the exception.
This new generation, affectionately dubbed GenI, is extremely savvy when it comes to technology. They have a vast array of weapons available at their fingertips, from computers to cell phones. Give them a fact and they will rip it to shreds with the new and latest information that they just Googled on their BlackBerry. Technotards beware!
Let’s take cell phones as an example. Teenagers now-a-days keep in constant contact with the world via text messages on their cell phones. After years of argument, my husband and I caved and bought our daughter a cell phone. And not a run-of-the-mill cell phone but one with a camera and full QWERTY keyboard (what’s QWERTY you ask, it’s the acronym for a regular keyboard; it represents the first 6 letters of a keyboard from the upper left side). I swear, if my daughter could have her cell hooked up intravenously, she would. Kids can be in the same room, sitting on the same couch, and yet, rather than talking, they text. I have witnessed this first hand. The biggest punishment to a teenager is to be grounded off her phone; “God Mom, it’s my lifeline!” One day, my daughter came home from school and informed me that she would not be staying over at her friend’s house that weekend because said friend had lost her cell phone privileges and “she had no other way to get a hold of [said friend]”. I promptly asked her why she didn’t call her on the phone and the instant reply was “Mom, that’s so old school!”
What is new school is that everything, and I do mean everything, is available to the entire global network at the press of a button via the Internet. Still on dial-up? Not likely; most major urban centres have high speed internet available in hot spots, internet cafes, and the local library. Elementary schools now make it mandatory that assignments are done on the computer and if the child does not have access to a home computer, there are several at the school that can be used. The Internet is used for research by school children and adults employed in a variety of vocations. Need the latest html code references, just Google it. Need to know the calories and/or ingredients of a fast-food restaurant meal? Just visit their website (usually conveniently located at http://www.restaurant_name.com). Need directions, don’t bother with the fuss and hassle of a map; just MapQuest it. Not only does it give you the location of the desired address but you can get very precise directions on how to get from Point A to Point B. The Internet is a very useful place that is quickly taking over as “the” place to do research.
The Internet isn’t just used for practical things like research and directions. It is also used for getting to know people via social networking. I don’t know many people who aren’t on Facebook or some other variation of social networking (MySpace, Twitter, etc). Some people follow Facebook daily and if they can’t check it, they suffer withdrawal. Many people use Facebook to publish pictures and send them to other people. Facebook references are even made in casual conversation between acquaintances: “Did you check my Facebook, the pics are all posted up there.” I found myself stating this matter-of-factly to a co-worker when she asked to see pictures of my son.
Geek speak does not just pertain to the examples given above. Men (and women) now talk about computers like some people talk about cars: “I just bought a Pentium IV, quad core processor computer with 2GB RAM and a 1000GB hard drive; it will download 100GB of information in 60 seconds flat.” Okay, I added that last bit to prove a point. . I work at a technology company and sometimes the geek speak that I hear confuses me! Let’s hook up the server to the NAS drive via an NFS mount and then change the IP address in the DNS entry so we are using the new Sun WS (which, ironically, references the new WAS server). I’m sorry, huh? The crazy thing isn’t the geek speak; the crazy thing is that they expect you to understand every word.
It’s no wonder that people cannot keep on top of all the new technology and ideas that are floating around. We are completely inundated with data on a daily basis. A study released Wednesday from the University of California, San Diego, reports that the average American consumes a whopping 34GB of data and 100,000 words of information per day. (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-10412996-17.html) If that just does not compute with you, let’s compare this to something you might understand. If you were to read 1,360,000 articles the size of the one you are currently reading, that would be the equivalent of 34GB of data (give or take).
With technology inundating every aspect of our lives, it is extremely easy to become a geek. We may use different terminology (“She’s so techno-savvy”) or we may not even acknowledge it for what it is. But the fact is, deep down, we are all geeks whether we admit it or not. So next time you hear someone say “Oh my God, you’re such a geek!” you can reply “Why thank you, a geek is worth 1000GB.”