Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Techie Continuum

There is a great continuum of geeks out there. However technically savvy you are, there are almost certainly people who are more and less geeky than you. Many people probably think I'm the geekiest person they know, but they have no idea how great the continuum is. When it comes to technology, I am pretty much a dilettante. I know lots of technological words and can understand and even use many of them accurately in conversation, but I am not a very technical person. I know many people who are far more technical than I (though I admit that I am more technical than the average American.)

It's actually more complex than a simple technical continuum. There are different ways to be technical. For instance, I have friends who are math geeks, while others are computer programmers and others are IT/networking folks who can make anything work.

A completely different type of techie is more of a technofile than anything else. A Technofile Techie (TT) knows just about everything that's going on in the world of technology. TT reads technical blogs and sites and probably has fine-tuned opinions about operating systems, hardware, file formats, networks, and other such stuff. Frankly, a TT has opinions about technical things that most of us never knew existed. For instance, most normal people who have a passing acquaintance with technology have heard about Linux and think it's an operating system. You could imagine people having arguments about whether Linux is better or worse than PCs or Mac, but that's as far as many people go. A TT knows that there are flavors of Linux and has opinions about each one.

Note that a TT isn't necessarily a programmer or anyone who fits into the other technical categories. TT could be an artist, a project manager, a consultant, or a retiree. Being a TT is an avocation, not a vocation.

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