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Are Tech Geeks on the Cutting Edge, or Out of Touch?

iphonecans

This past weekend I was in a remote area of northeastern Pennsylvania with no internet access, even via my iPhone.  I made one trip per day to my parents’ cabin a few miles away, where I could plug in and briefly get online. I was among a large number of extended family members, and as best I could tell, I was the only one who seemed to mind not having access.  Everyone else’s nonchalance got me to thinking – are tech geeks really on the cutting edge, and leading the way to the future? Or are we far removed from the reality of the rest of the world, and just scratching our tech itch for our own benefit?

Photo by markhillary.

Twitter is all the rage today, yet all but one of the people I follow on Twitter are people I’ve never met in person. The reason? None of my “real world” friends even have Twitter accounts. They use Facebook, but generally roll their eyes when I talk excitedly about a new piece of tech.  My friends aren’t tech geeks, but I’d hardly call some of them tech neophytes.  They use tech when it makes sense in the context of their lives.  I do think that we tech geeks at times lose sight of this purpose of tech – to make life easier.  We get caught up in all that is “new and shiny.”  My computer is littered with programs that I don’t use.  I probably knew I wouldn’t use most of them even before I downloaded them, but I still had to try them out.

Some of my tech time is wasted.  I’ve spent time setting up a way to stream movies from my hard drive to my television.  Most people would look at my efforts, shrug, and mention that they just pop in a disc when they want to watch a movie.  Do tech geeks waste time on projects with no real benefit to them?

Perhaps this weekend should teach me a lesson.  Tech is there to make my life easier, not control it.  But the larger question that this weekend raised for me is whether we tech geeks are out of touch, or does our tech fascination serve a larger purpose?

So, help me out.  Do we live in a different reality than the rest of the world?  Or are we really at the edge of what is coming to the masses?  Or is it both?

Or do I just have less tech savvy friends than most people?