My wife Sandee cringes at the suggestion that she’s a geek. She writes poetry and teaches English, she cooks fabulous meals and dances all night long. Surely you’re mistaken she’ll say. But she does have a laptop, a digital camera, and an iPod. And she immediately saw the value of having a computer in the living room when MP3s replaced CDs many years ago. So you’ll point to all of this and ask for a clarification and she’ll explain that her use of technology does not make her a technophile any more than her use of a car makes her a NASCAR fan.
The answer was surprisingly easy: of course she did. Her computer doesn’t solve her technology needs, it answers her communication and social needs. She used it to email, to send photos, and take notes. Then, during a three-hour layover in Philidelphia she shared it with friends so they could check their email. And after the email was checked, they played word twister.
To many, this may seem only natural. But let me emphasize the obvious: computers and computer networks now offer real value to those who don’t value technology. This is driving the success of social software. This is the coming of the information age.