Too white and too self-conscious to wear Google Glass?

'White guys wearing Google Glass' is a product-killer meme that's already having an effect.
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor on

A friend who is a prominent geek, always a bit of a rebel, and very comfortable with self-promotion, is very concerned about posting a picture of himself wearing Google Glass.

He just got them and was super excited to finally have them; he had told all his social networks about it days in advance. When they finally arrived, he told his friends he couldn't post a photo of himself wearing them for fear of turning up on rapidly proliferating sites specializing in photos of "White Geeks wearing Google Glass".

I suggested that he try "black face", but that would probably set off another rush for domain names and specialized sites, and make his predicament worse than if he'd stayed natural. 

However, if my friend is concerned about posting a picture of himself wearing Glass, what about other geeks? What about any of them wearing their Glass in public? They will all be live fodder for anyone out there. Their photos of a white guy wearing Glass could end up online sooner or later — and not in a good, cool kind of way.

There are solutions. One is to only wear them at home in private, watching out for open windows and curtains. Or in public, but wearing large, black sunglasses to hide the interior Glass. Those types of sunglasses can be found at medical equipment stores and don't require a prescription.

Memes such as these can be product killers. Google knows how to track memes with services such as Google Trends. But does it know what to do in response to negative sentiment or how best to boost Glass.

Here's how Google can help boost Glass wearers: Encourage diversity within geek communities and workplaces — starting with a radical new hiring policy at Google.

By helping to build diversity within geek society and its sub-cultures, it will be great for business because it will mean that a "white guy" meme can't be stuck onto any Google products or its brand. Apple can have it back.

It would be a smart business move because it saddles Apple, a formidable competitor with a big problem. It'll be solved by Apple, in turn, by building diversity into its brand, and so on, in a domino diversity tumble across a global industry, and it might actually result in something great. All because of "White guys wearing Google Glass".

Update: Marcus Wohlsen writing in Wired Business a few minutes ago, agrees that "Guys like this could kill Google Glass before it ever gets off the ground".

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