Geek culture takes over the world

Summary:Pia Waugh, a well-respected geek who now works as a "geek liaison" in the office of Labor Senator Kate Lundy, tweeted once that she finds herself amused at people who talk professionally about social media and online communications with enthusiasm, but miss the role that geek culture plays in the space. I agree.

Pia Waugh, a well-respected geek who now works as a "geek liaison" in the office of Labor Senator Kate Lundy, tweeted once that she finds herself amused at people who talk professionally about social media and online communications with enthusiasm, but miss the role that geek culture plays in the space. I agree.

Open and transparent global communications are nothing new. Geeks have been doing this stuff as long as we've had the internet. If you want to trace it back even further, then open communications where people were respected for their skills and ideas rather than their social status or bank balance have been at the core of academic research for centuries.

Yet, for most people — all the non-geeks — geek culture and philosophy is obviously something new. They're using tools originally designed by geeks for geeks, and it's changing their world.

So what is geek culture? Where does it come from? And why do some people see it as a threat?

We explore these issues and more with two geeks. Silvia Pfeiffer is a developer who's been involved with many open-source software and geek communities and technical standards committees, and has run her own business as well as worked for CSIRO. And Nick Hodge's business card reads "professional geek" for a certain large software company based in Redmond, Washington. Both speak in their personal capacities.

There's also my usual look at some of last week's news headlines.

To leave an audio comment on the program, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.

Running time: 28 minutes, 46 seconds.

Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Stilgherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and podcaster interested in big-picture internet issues, especially security, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust. He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide-ranging media career and a stint at running an IT business. He can write iptables firewall rules, set a rabbit tr... Full Bio

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