Over the past few years, I've been amazed at the attention the tech industry has received in the single realm that some thought it wasn't fit for--the mainstream.
The video game industry has become a multibillion dollar industry that rivals film. The Nintendo Wii is being played by people aged 1 to 100. The iPhone has transformed the cell phone industry. The Amazon Kindle, a device that some believed was a niche product, is selling faster than even Amazon expected. And everywhere you turn, someone who you thought had little knowledge about computers is discussing the differences between a Mac and PC.
But it's not just hardware. Sites like Facebook and MySpace are attracting millions of people to their pages each month. And celebrities--the leaders of the mainstream--have recently made Twitter, once a destination for the geek, almost a household name.
Most of those products were once reserved for the "Geek." But now, the mainstream has entered the Geekdom, and conquered it. It's getting harder to find a real geek.
So, I guess it's time we re-evaluate our Geekdom. What does it take to be a geek today?
If you're programming in Ruby, you're a geek. If you get excited to jailbreak your iPhone, you're a geek. If you want to build your PC from scratch, you're a geek. If you spend time hacking into a network, you're a geek. If you're trying to run Linux on your digital camera, you're a geek.
But if you have a real interest in technology, you're not necessarily a geek anymore. Sales figures and pop culture have shown that cool tech has a place in the mainstream. Technology's appeal to that mainstream is relentless. More and more people will find a love for gadgetry and the Web. And in the process, the number of geeks will dwindle.
I remember a time when it was easy to be a geek. All you had to do was have an interest in technology and know a lot about it. Today, being a geek takes real work. But for many of us, being a part of the mainstream justifies what we've been saying for years: tech really is cool.
We told you so.