The Rise of the Geek, Slave Leia and Why You Are Very Important


OBVIOUS FACT THAT SHOULD BE OBVIOUS: We are all geeks now. Not just would-be sex-bombs dressing up like Slave Leia. More ordinary people and stuff that courses through the culture and is everywhere. Everyone is on Netflix, streams The Daily Show, posts their “thoughts” about “The Red Wedding” on their favorite GOT forum. The total geekiness of everything is everywhere, and it’s like a bacteriophage — unless you embrace it, in which case it’s not.

We’ve known for a couple of years that, by 2016, online ads will eclipse television spending. That underscores the rapid proliferation of gadgetry, and the imperialism of the virtual economy, which will eventually conquer everywhere.

But technology by itself is meaningless. We tend to forget this. We tend to think that we’re being taken over or watched or choreographed. But that’s (probably) not true. The new technology is a function of us, and where it goes next, what form it adopts, whatever it does, will depend on the almighty We.

What’s critical here is the centrality of us — or you — you the consumer, you the individual swimming among billions of social-media profiles wandering the Earth with your hand-held device or tablet or iPhone 10s. You’re the one driving this change. Because you’ve geeked out — you’ve embraced these technologies.

So, Producers of Media: You must deliver content to Us the way we want it if you’re going to stay relevant. This has always been true, but it is more true now than ever, and the failure to adopt will be felt more immediately, more brutally, than in times past. This we know.

Remember, fellow consumers: You’re not a mass audience or a mere demographic.  You’re a vast ocean of individuals who like what you like, when you like it and how you like it. The new media will evolve or emerge accordingly. (That’s what makes them new.) The old media will…disappear.

So, when you see old media flopping around, scrambling for an audience, just remember: It’s not because they don’t get all the newfangled technology.  It’s because they don’t get you.


  1. J

    Steve Jobs seemed to get this… some of the “new” leaders @ apple and elsewhere not-so-much. Successful innovation will embrace our wants and discontinue suggestive caveats toward perceived need.

  2. Tuxhak

    I see a revolution starting. People are waking up and embracing technology, and with using the “digital voice,” they are molding and shaping the way we all get our media. Media companies are noticing (finally) that we don’t want the crap that they want to push on us. We want to be in charge of what type of media that we view, not some faceless company. We want to be in charge of what media we pay for, not spending lots of money just to have a few channels. I have seen the change in thought, from when I was young and being a geek or nerd was not a good thing to now where it is (for the most part) the thing to be. I love seeing what is happening, and seeing people embrace the tech and the inner geek that each of us have.

  3. Eidre

    The underlying driver for this is the increasing democratization of media, driven (I would opine) by the transition from non-interactive delivery mechanism (TV and radio, where the only feedback from the consumer are things like polls and Nielsen Ratings) to media that directly interacts with the consumer’s browsing choices; this tighter feedback loop (and automated interaction) removes the need for large teams of people and the associated expense, making smaller and smaller niche media products possible and profitable. I would predict a short-to-medium term contest between media visions: the legacy media (TV, radio, movies), trying to produce products that have baseline acceptability to the largest population possible (a unifying and normalizing effect on the population) and relies on selling universally available and acceptable products; and the small, dynamic automated media that shapes itself around each individual’s preferences (as captured by their online behavior) and pushes society towards small interlinked networks of like-thinking (and like-purchasing) people; overall a divisive influence on the broader society, but one that will spur more diversity, discovery, and individual enjoyment. It’ll be interesting to see whether one side wins, or if they just hold in a dynamic tension for awhile.

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