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Net-Set to Replace Jet-Set as New Elite 191

toe bee writes "An article at the Merc claims that some social scientists believe that folks like slashdotters, the geeks of yore, are going to be the social elite of the next century and that the 'geek/nerd' facade is quickly fading. There is justice... or is there?" Uh, oh. I can see heads starting to swell already. Well, at least it's easier to become a member of the meritocracy-based "Net Set" mentioned in the article than it was to make it into the old-fashioned "Jet Set," and (IMO) the average 21st Century Net-Setter is more likely to be worth knowing than most Jet-Setters ever were.
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Net-Set to Replace the Jet-Set as New Elite

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm going to plaster Linux bumperstickers all over my car. I'm going to wear ALL my Linux T's at once. I will be the poster boy for the 'net elite.

    I will carry BO2K on CD for easy distribution. I will have Trinix floppies available for anyone who asks. I will always have a bottle of Jolt in hand. I will NEVER use fewer than 4 TLA's in one sentence, LOL, IMHO.
  • by Zonker Harris ( 12889 ) on Thursday July 29, 1999 @09:12AM (#1776550)
    Uhhhhhhhh... sure.

    The ability to use the Internet does not grant people social skills. I think we can all find an example of this in someone we know.
    And why were the "Jet-Set" so popular and envied? Because they provided society with some service? Because they were masters of new technology? Because of their tans?
    People don't envy the programmers who build products or create new ways to interface, etc.- they envy the CEOs. They envy money.
    But of course, to quote the article: ``A central fact is that wealth and social power, which mattered most in the old jet set, does not matter at all in cyberspace.''
    I keep forgetting. (Of course, you have to be in the very small minority of the world population that can afford a computer and has access to the Internet.)
    If your ability to use the Internet is what makes you popular, expect your conversations to consist of offering advice to clueless newbies, et al.
    When cars became mass-produced, did auto mechanics become celebrities? Think about it.

  • by jabber ( 13196 ) on Thursday July 29, 1999 @12:32PM (#1776551) Homepage
    It does make sense on a certain level.

    To be socially elite, one must posses things that society values above others. Money and power come to mind. Money can buy virtually all posessions, power included. Good looks open doors to money, since they make people tend to be nice to you. Connections, who you know and how much they like you, this matters. Intelligence is required to make use of looks and money, otherwise they don't last, but it's a means, not an end.

    To be socially elite, one must endeavor to be upwardly mobile through the strata of society. One must have the drive to achieve the things that society values.

    Geeks don't got that drive.

    There's a difference in mentality, ideology and set of ethics. To a geek, doing the job right is key. Achieving a clever solution, producing, earning merit - these are the things that drive geeks. And of course, the challenge of it all.

    The 'popular kids' are always looking for the easy way out, the free ride, the thing they can hold up to the Joneses face and say "Lookee what I got, and you don't!" They strut around, looking good, spending money and time on being popular. They are living in a world of things, of material possessions. Their world is defined by what they have (money, clothes, a jet, an Esq after their name, a trust fund, an Ivy league diploma, a trophy wife, etc).

    A geek's world is defined by what they think. Geeks don't particularly care about the brand of their sneakers, or cars. They'd rather have a good conversation with their wife, than watch someone watch her on a tennis court. They define themselves by the life they lead inside their head, and in the heads of other geeks. They share ideas, and if they can share them as code, all the better, because it codifies their cleverness.

    Can a geek really even begin to relate to a former cheerleader? What would a geek choose - a week in Aspen of a PalmV.

    Don't get me wrong, geeks like nice things too. But geeks get nice things for themselves, and for the utility they provide. Not for show. I think that was the point.
  • I heard somewhere that Newton died a virgin...

    The original nerd, methinks. :)

  • if we could all collectively 1/bathe,2/haircuts,3/tans,4/workout..we could much better match the jet-sets ability to do the thing that REALLY matters...pick up chicks.

    Then what's the point? Anyone who bathes, tans, gets haircuts, works out, etc. picks up chicks more easily. Like I said before, it's more of a question of power (and social skills) than hackerdom. Your boss is more likely to an "elite" than you are, and that's all there is to it- whether you're 'net-literate or not.

  • >They'll just marry into a higher incom bracket than their intelligence merits.


    i can't believe you people. do you still live in the stone age?? believe it or not, but some of us are out here working even though we don't really have to because we want our OWN money.

    women aren't greedy on the whole. we're human. when a young girl is scared because she doesn't know what she wants to do with her life, and she resorts to marrying a guy to gain some stability, you KNOW that some of you out there would do the same thing. and some wouldn't.

    don't knock us because we have different opportunities, or LACK of them, than you.

    and this bitching about an impartial system?? take it from a woman, i know all about that. no, i am not crying discrimination or any of that crap, i am merely saying that impartial systems never exist, and sometimes they work for you, and sometimes they work against you. deal with it.

    i still can't get over the premise of this topic. i thought that, if ANYWHERE, fellow geeks would understand what being stereotyped against feels like and would have some compassion for their fellow men and WOMEN. grow a heart!

    is there such a lack of women on slashdot that you think you could go around saying this shit without anyone calling you on it?? sheesh.
  • Heck, I work at an HMO and just say I'm in databases and the web sites and make more per hour worked (only 40/week) than the doctors and lawyers do. Suddenly, the lights go on in their eyes.

    Think about it: Good earning potential, can pick up kids after work, will help with housework.

    Which means: total babe magnet.

  • That would be a cool thing, because I can remember when I used to get called "geek," and it was not a cool thing to be. This was back in the early '80s. Kids used to call me that even before I discovered computers. It was a name for people who were just different from everyone else. The term used to confer the same social status of being called a "retard."

    Now it's chic. My how things change!

    By the way, we should notify Webster's that it needs to change its definition. I got this off the Webster's web site:

    Main Entry: geek
    Pronunciation: 'gEk
    Function: noun
    Etymology: probably from English dialect geek, geck fool, from Low German geck, from Middle Low German
    Date: 1914
    1 : a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or
    2 : a person often of an intellectual bent who is disapproved of
    - geeky /'gE-kE/ adjective

    Excuse me while I bite (or is it byte?) away...
  • IMO, TCP/IP isn't so much a TLA as a FLA, FWIW, but it's not worth a LART really, so never mind, HTH, HAND :)
    -jinx_tigr, bastard kitty of the scary devil monastery
  • I can't see Socrates coming up with The Republic. I think it was all Plato, who used Socrates as a mouthpiece. Then again my perception may be skewed because I think Plato is an idiot, and I don't like The Republic either.
  • let me ask you:
    are beautiful women not allowed to be intelligent? some MIGHT exist, you know.

    i have a geek boyfriend. his geekiness is one thing that attracted me to him. but MY geekiness is a big part of the reason that he loves me. i am blonde. and 'english major type'?? i have an english degree. i also have completed two years of grad study in computer science.

    stop the fucking stereotyping, people.
  • clothing optional for telecommuters

    So, being defrocked doesn't have as much of a stigma attached, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think he meant that we'd be the ones revolting...
    I think the pallid, flabby, unbathed geeks sitting in basements clicking on their keyboards and mice with pizza-greasy fingers are already revolting.
  • Well sorry mister Anonymous Coward!!!

    English is not my native Language.
    I would like to see you spell anything in french!!

    Oh and please no stupid french jokes, I heard em all.

    p.s. I hope the future "geek elite" wont bitch and backstab like the Jet Sets...
  • This article is for the most part true, but who cares? The problem with eleets is that in a very short time, it degrades into snobbery and putrid stagnance. The jet-set were lame yuppies, and if (when) there is going to be a net-set, they will be lame yuppies too. You can see the signs of it already, aol-user-bashing, stigma for people who use services like hotmail and geocities, bashing people who use microsoft software, etcetera.

    But I disagree with the article when it says that the general public will look up to a general type of lifestyle which the net-setters live. I dont think the general public will care. Individuals will always strive to be better at using new technological mediums, but they will not strive to achieve the particular lifestyle set by the net-setters. Rather, than 1 elite dominating the scene, there will be a fragmentation into multitudes of different groups with their own focus and agendas, and people will find refuge in these countless groups rather than in the mainstream. The ultraconservatives, the fundamentalists, the libertarians, the pedophiles, the socialists, the hackers, the crackers, the neo-nazis, will all have their representation, for better or worse. So again, who cares about the net-setters? They'll do their thing, just like everyone else.

  • by Shoeboy ( 16224 ) on Thursday July 29, 1999 @09:15AM (#1776564) Homepage
    The world belongs to those who can shuttle between websites with the ease of a speeding gazelle. I have in my hand $126.37 USD. I will give it to anyone who can show me a gazelle capable of surfing the web - even web-tv will count. I'll make that an even grand if you can get the gazelle to surf while loaded on meth as the article specifies.
  • The "Jet Set" had style, beauty and class. Everyone turns on the TV and appreciates the beautiful people on there and wants to be like them. Who wouldn't want to be Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts? Bill Gates is rich and talented (hey, to make that much money you have to be), but he's a fsking dork. Everyone pokes fun at his glasses and his haircut and his goofy expressions. They call him a dork: Who would call Brad Pitt a dork? Who would call Brad Pitt anything but good looking and a good actor? (Don't argue, I'm just using him as an example). The only people who can appreciate the knowledgable "net set" are people in it already. To the rest of the world Linus Torvalds is a funny looking geek with an accent. They can't understand a word we utter once we start speaking geek, and the only thing we do to ourselves when we do that is ostracize ourselves further.

    The only geeks that are going to be in any sort of elite are the ones like the people in 'Hackers' or 'The Net', the ones who say "I'm not a geek, but I play one on TV."
  • Those of us who actually spend time with others will always be elite, those who don't won't. It's the way that it always has been, doesn't matter if you're tech savvy or not.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Being "cool" or a "jock" seldom leads to a good career. That why you don't see these qualifications listed on resumes. Women too, eventually learn that hanging a cool guy on their arm won't get 'em a nice home or provide for their children. Then who do they turn to?

    As Oscar Wilde once remarked, "The best revenge is living well"
  • I'm not worried about being the "net-set" until we get a lot of pandering through fluff articles looking to cater to us because we have some disposable income.
  • Our industry is just too easy to make those kind of jokes. Yet another reason why computers should be abandoned - yea verily the modems should be beaten into plowshares. Okay, so beating on a modem turns it into cracked plastic, but you see my point. Lame computer related pickup lines are proof of the degeneration of this industry. Could you imagine Alan Turing saying "Hey baby can I scan your ports?" Well maybe you can, but not to a woman at any rate.
  • Researchers believe that the nerdy image of the Internet user has given way to a new elite that shops online, trades stocks in cyberspace, buys plane tickets and performs a multitude of other daily tasks with seemingly effortless ease.
    In other words: to qualify for the "Net Set", you have to use the Internet to buy lots of stuff. Any other Internet-related knowledge or skills are irrelevant, as far as these "researchers" are concerned.

    What community in the real world has an admission requirement like that?

  • Finaly
  • This is mostly true. However, it's going to take babes REALIZING that. Right now their perception probably is we're a group of guys who are gross, ugly, and no fun to be with.

    I can remember Tony Brown (the guy who hosts Tony Brown's Journal on PBS) talking about this a couple years ago. At a speech at Emory University he said that the men with earning potential in the future are ones with computer skills. He said, "You should not be encouraging your daughters to be going out with the captain of the football team. You should be encouraging them to go out with the kid with the glasses, who's off in the corner with his head in a book. The new question that young women should be asking men is not, 'Do you own a cool, new car,' but, 'Do you own a computer?'"
  • At least we might have some intelligent people in high positions instead of the (a)typical morons there now.
  • I have seen many many posts saying that this whole article is BS. I must say that the article is pretty funny.(Esp. the speeding gazelle) But the underlying message has a good possibility. Not in the current world though. In the world invisioned at MIT where Oxygen exits. That is where the technos will be the elite. Not sitting in front of a monitor chating with a 13yr old that thinks its funny to pretend he is a 24yr old bisexual female. In a world were a majority of social functions take place over a highly evolved internet, that is where the techs will be elite. Its the person at a party that can change the incoming caller's body into a speeding gazelle :), such as in Lost in Space (my favorite part :P) that will get attention. Flame the article, but embrace the idea :).

    "I have no respect for a man who can only spell a word one way." - Mark Twain
  • I dont really find the comparison to the french revolution particularly promising...wasn't a pretty event.
  • "Most likely, in an effort to maintain their status, they will become geeks (or try like hell, or fake it, or something) as well as the philanderers, cutthroats, etc. that they already are. That is, if that's what it takes to continue their 'ascent to power'."
    No: they'll hire geeks. It'll be like scientists of bygone days- when the article says 'speeding gazelle' what it's really saying is: How fast can you get certain types of information? If you had to know what a plausible Vermont salary for a Silicon Valley job would be, where would you look? If you're attaching a new video card to your computer where do you go to find the undocumented setup guidelines the vendor won't give you? Where do you go to be the first to hear about the HP activeX controls installed at the factory which are major security holes?
    Some of you are already nodding about those ActiveX controls and have a URL which you're sharing with friends of yours who are HP owners with recent machines. Those who have already heard about this: _you_ are the Net set, _you_ are the sort who will be drowned in gold by rich people who want not only the fine wines, fancy cars- they want power, they want to be the first to know, but they cannot themselves learn what they'd need- and so they'll buy _people_ to do that for them.
    Those bought people are the Net Set, as it'll actually happen. They won't be primary sources of wealth (ha- as if the rich people sit at home knitting Krugerrands), but they will be _secondary_ rich people, minstrels/wizards of the modern age- status symbols but also capable of being incredibly useful from time to time.
    It's not so much the greedy little lines of MCSEs whose question is 'what's in it for me?' who'll become this type of new wizard- those people have a curiosity limited to their arms' reach, and a real unwillingness to be bothered with thinking about problems that are 'beneath' them. Instead it's the hardcore geeks who will end up with wealthy patrons- rich people asking, "Well, now, Morton, got any thoughts on my Atlantic Records stock? I hear they have invented a totally new compression scheme, think that's worth investing in them?".
    In such a situation, Morton is apt to laugh in Mr. Rich Guy's face, and then have to explain why, for instance, MS is backing another thing and then there's mp3 and so the (fictional) Atlantic scheme hasn't got a chance in hell- thus saving Mr. Rich Guy far more than he could possibly pay his trophy geek, who still thinks it's amazing that he has a blank check for any and all computer equipment, consoles etc. he wants. Rich Guy lives in a mansion and has a cottage on the Riviera. Trophy Geek lives in the basement of the mansion, rent-free, and rarely leaves his techno-toys except to go to trade shows. It's a symbiotic relationship.
    That's what'll happen. Knowledge is power- but the way things are shaping up, the people most able to wield this knowledge are not primarily interested in power, just in more knowledge, and techie toys to play with. This is dirt cheap even if it seems phenomenally generous to Trophy Geek.
    Dare I say it- start grabbing Trophy Geeks now, rich folk! If you're too slow, you'll be stuck getting advice from some MCSE or other, and you'll lose the big chances because you didn't snatch up and become the patron to a Trophy Geek when you could! ;)
    Don't look at me- I figure I'd qualify for that job but I'm looking to industry for my patron- I intend to be trophy geek to a nonprofit organization that gives great resources to other nonprofits, and so my patron would simply be the huge corporations which give grants to the nonprofits like us. I figure we'll be able to earn all the grants we want because we're genuinely committed to service, so I won't actually need a rich-guy patron. But it would still be kinda cool, wouldn't it? :)
  • so in highschool the nerds will pack hunt & beat up the jocks? that would be a change...
  • and (IMO) the average 21st Century Net-Setter is more likely to be worth knowing than most Jet-Setters ever were.

    Let the elite snobbery begin^H^H^H^H^H^H continue!

    I'm only half joking.
  • Calling the techie-in-crowd a meritocracy is ignoring the socioeconomic gap that STILL exists between the wired-haves and the wired-have-nots.
  • by Misfit ( 1071 )
    Not sure I like the idea of being popular.

    It's too much of a pain to figure out who is really your friend, and who is just using you. Usually I think it's both. Leastways that's what it is like on 90210.

  • To explain:

    Linux has become so 'uber cool' that there are twenty different distributions, suits clamoring all over it to make it 'commercially feasible' 'easy to install' and all sorts of other warped perceptions of what a stable Unix system should be. The newsgroups are crawling with clueless people who want to know why their joystick doesn't work.

    An operating system that has been serving me right lately is NetBSD. I've been buying mature, well written books (mostly from O'Reilly, Prentice-Hall, etc.) on how the BSD OS and kernel work, and learning a lot from running a plain vanilla Unix.

    I downloaded (at work) the entire NetBSD package source archive and am slowly dragging in all the packages I want by building them from source. For a 'build it from source' approach, the NetBSD pkgsrc scheme works eminently well. If dependent packages aren't already in place, it checks them out, builds them, and installs them, then goes on and builds the package you requested.

    For example, if you want to install LyX on a plain-vanilla base install, go to the LyX package build directory and run 'make && make install.' The package system builds and installs TeX, LaTeX, all the files they depend on, libraries needed to build and run LyX, etc., then builds and installs LyX itself. From the source, not from canned binaries with who-knows-what library dependencies.

    With NetBSD (or any of the *BSD's actually) system administration is as simple as reading the classic O'Reilly books following instructions that have been correct for a decade. No clever Python scripts from RedHat to reverse engineer to figure out what the hell they wanted it to do.

    I'm learning a lot, and none of it is obsolete when RedHat decides to write a new batch of Python config tools.
  • Yo peoples, the fact remains that who you are is made up of all your past experiences. Humans have a hard time being able to see a situation from some ones point of view because:

    A) We are a selfish race and we believe that if I can handle the situation then so can everyone else.
    B) because we have not lived through every single experiece that the other has.
    C) We are individuals, with different minds and personalities.

    The fact remains that now all the "computer-geeks" are complaining that we are being sterotyped, yet we are sterotyping women right back. The way that I view it is that if I were a jock, I would like who I was or else I'd change. Right now I like who I am (though I still have shortcomings.) If I were a woman, I would like who I was. If I was a little fairy who had pink wings, I WOULD LIKE WHO I AM. So don't try and judge people from your own point of view, just judge yourself.
  • Yikes!

    Hordes of netless proles rioting in the streets, breaking into your house

    "He's got a modem, and look, network cabling, he's one of those netsetters

    to the Guillotine!"

    I'd better build a priesthole in my house and hide all my computer stuff there.

  • You want to get an idea of how much better to know the Net-Set is, why not go to Linux world and mention that you think maybe there's a few good Microsoft products.

    See how pleasant it is to be around the new elite then.

    Using the word social in the same sentence as the net population doesn't really make sense.
  • 1) Women will never be attracted to doughy geeks with stringy unwashed hair and a nervous stutter, so just forget it. The jet set (aka daddy's little boys & girls + 20 years) were glamorous because they could afford to be Beautiful People and excelled at - and were interested in - very little else. These "researchers", who are searching for tenure rather desperately I must add, are not talking about all the pimply salivating AC's posting right now. No, the fictional people referenced in this "study" are the finely chiseled slogan-beshirted models on the cover of wired. Of course those people are attractive. They look nice and they have cash. They also don't exist.

    2) People inventing utopian futures always manage to put themselves on top of the pile. The very first utopian, Plato, did the same thing in his Republic. "There will be a perfect society... ruled by philosphers!" This study is playing to our egotism and the credulity of the press to earn a few uninspired professers a little extra kudo-money at lecture time. Done.

    3) We are all slaves. The jet set were the infant spawn of powerful business moguls who could afford the gift of indolence for their kids. We, the geeks of the world, are functionally the hirelings of those same moguls. We occupy the same space in the corporate hierarchy that clerks held in Dicken's time. Oh ye geeks, full of self importance, just wait until our talents become common in the marketplace. Very soon it will be clear how much a technical mind is valued.

  • Well this should surprise no one,

    Banks need geeks to make e-money go

    networks that e-commerce deps on need geeks to make go

    In short the jocks of our youth are now ill equipped for the new arena competition

    where brains matter more then brawn,

    so fellow geeks sit back and enjoy the ride in your nice sports car {911, MR-2, Corvette }

    as you watch the pay checks come in, as you ponder

    of your high school reunion.

  • <satire>
    Well, we wouldn't rely on our physical strength alone! We'd use those kickass sharpshooting skills we learned from playing Quake and the bombs we learned how to build from surfing the web! Duh.
  • The article is pretty sketchy regarding the "research" that shows that the "geek image" is passing. Most likely, the research is someone noticing that "jet" rhymes with "net".
  • Why is this still my typical party conversation?
    Her: So, what're you majoring in?
    Me: Well, I don't know... maybe CompSci.
    Her: Oh. . Do you do that sort of thing a lot, I mean computer stuff?
    Me: Oh, you know, I to keep it diverse, but there's so much happening in computers these days, it's really interesting stuff.
    Her: Well, did you do that sort of thing a lot in high school?
    Me: No, I actually wanted to me a comp lit major, or maybe econ, but the CS department here is just really great, and it's a fun place to be.
    Her: Well, I gotta go. ..
    Me: No, wait! Really, I just want to start a net company and get rich! I swear!
    Her: Oh. That's cool. Give me a call sometime. Preferrably right before your company goes public.
  • I was about to rip the article to shreds when i thought about what this future-social-elite "Net Set" person is: someone who knows how to really use the web. This is *not* a coder, a hacker, programmer, or computer junkie. Because coders, hackers, programmers, and computer junkies care more about creating their own set of rules, web sites, scripts, hacks, cracks and whatnot that they are more likely to spend their free time whippin up spiffy DHTML, a new app, or some dynamic perl underbelly to a site than tinker around the web using all that commercial shit out there.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems that "Net Set" people are the flaky no-lifers that spend their time "surfing" and downloading, not inspiring or creating cause people who inspire and create dont have time to piss around the web.

    my 2 pfenigs

  • I'm a wandering geek, both net and jet set. My work (in IS) takes me all around the Americas. (The opportunity to travel is the main reason I chose my current career path.)

    As far as who is more entertaining to know, give me the well-travelled over the basement-geek anyday. Of course, I sing the praises of the well-travelled geek above all.

    A (surprisingly! shockingly! who'd have guessed!) good article appeared in Wired about the peculiarities of work-travel in the current era. The quirks of living for the miles (We live for the Miles, we die for the Miles) was something I recognized instantly. 100K or bust!

    The article, of course, referred to the "jet set" in terms of those children of privilege who travel freely and glamorously in their youth, rather than those of us who've earned our miles through the sweat of our brow and the keen of our wits.
  • The only reason this article was writen, or that this ever came up was simply because both jet-set and net-set end in "et-set." That is it, end of story.

  • First off, the price difference between the two is quite large and I already own a IIIx, but that is just on a literal level.

    I, being a geek, like utility and gadgets and all, but there's one other thing I spend money on that has nothing to do with bragging rights: enjoying myself. I love to ski, among other sports like backpacking, kayacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, etc.

    I would suggest that the chief difference between the geek community and the social elite is that geeks base the level of "eliteness" that they consider people to be at by how much they respect them. I respect people based mainly on intelligence, honesty, friendliness, and how good they are at whatever they happen to do.

    Hollywood and the social elite is based not on respect but on envy. It is not the goal of the social elite to be respected, but envied. Hence the lavish lifestyles and trophy spouses.

    Geeks climb by making themselves more respectable, such as by getting better at something. The social elite want to be "the envy of all they see".
  • I don't know how philosphy started getting discussed on slashdot, but hey, it's fun ;). The "popular kids" aren't looking for the quick way out. They just have different priorities. Like Me and My friend dan. Dan would rather do homework than go out with his friends, but once his homework is done he'll call everyone and get us all together. Now me on the other hand. If I know the material then I'll skip the homework, get a 0 and have a blast bowling, reading, rollarblading, or coding. We both like doing the same things. Just somethings are important to him that aren't to me. Has your wife/girlfriend ever asked you to prom? That, to most guys, is blah. I would much rather be Mudding, or slamming a screwdriver into my eyes, but I do it for her. Because to her it's important. I think that we "geeks" need to have an open mind about what could be important to others. Rather than try to critisize about what SHOULD be importannt.
  • This article sounds a lot like wishful thinking to me. When was the last time people showered you with adoration because you bought arline tickets online?

    Within the confines of the Internet itself, there are social strata, certainly. But the "real" world is not going to idolize this "Net-Set" any more than they idolize people who know a lot about cars or banking or any other complex subject.

    The reason wealthy people are admired is because they are wealthy, and presumably their status is unattainable by the "common" people. If it was easy to become a billionaire, everyone would do it. Getting on the 'Net and learning to use it is within the grasp of most people, and therefore impresses only the very, very dumb.

    The idiotic thing about this article is that the premise is that people who know how to navigate the 'Net and use it are the new elite. As if buying books at Amazon takes a huge amount of skill or knowledge. It says nothing about having an in-depth knowledge of how the system works, or being able to do much more than point-and-click. These aren't skills that will be cherished and admired; they're skills everyone will have.

  • One more thing I'd like to add to this. All people rise to their own level of incompetence. i.e. a person will continue to be promoted until they get into a position they can't handle.
    On another track; pretty people will ALWAYS be the most popular. Ugly people want them; fat people want them, stupid people want them; and geeks want them. Not to mention other pretty people. If this makes no sense, it's because I didn't read the article. My kneejerk opinion is based on the title and is entirly my own.
  • ...well, until some more of the geeks get loads of money (I hope the RedHat IPO works for y'all who can get in it!), it will still be the stupid, but amazingly rich, froth (I refuse to call them the elite cream) and the associated wannabes that make up the Jetset now, that if they find that the Net is the Chic thing to do, then these people, not extroverted geeks, who will become the Netset...

    The Geek and Nerd show will still go on, but will be on public access, instead of UPN or WB stations...
  • Hmm, I think eventually the media/government complex will need a way to differentiate "good" hackers from "bad" hackers. You know some bland, inoffensive standard of behaviour for "nouveau establishment" people who have a lot of money and power but started out in their garages with home made computer? Maybe these people can be the "net setters?"
    Unfortunately I'm not entirely up on who a "jet-setter" is or was, it seems to be a sort of archaic term. But, I'm thinking that up until now, the media has been portraying hard core computer experts as sort of like the Mafia. You know, people with cool underworld nicknames who dress in black and wield sinister power over computers. The "evil hacker" stereotype, similar to any other media stereotype about people the newsreaders just don't understand. If this becomes a huge way to wield influence in modern society though, they'll have to be an acceptable version of hackers. You know, in order to get a handle on people who refuse to play golf and otherwise fit in with the status quo. (I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with golf, btw, just that in some parts of the establishment it seems, well, mandatory. Sort of like gym class in High School, you can choose racket ball too if you want.)
    Besides, if people from elite families decide to get into traditional computer industry jobs, it will no longer be OK fo the media to treat them as freaks. (Or say if some new elite families appear, like the Gates dynasty or something.)
    Sorry, if I sound cynical, I just meet too many people at my job who seem to think there's something "funny" about me because I actually enjoy computers and they are just getting into it for the Big Buck$. (I keep getting into arguements with this one guy at work just because I'm interested in Linux. I mean, I'm not trying to get the company to change to Linux, I'm just interested in it, and he has a problem with me being curious about Linux in my free time. He'd rather go to the gym and work out on the machines &ltshiver&gt)
  • by coug_ ( 63333 )
    Why couldn't it have happened right before I started high school? Maybe I could've gotten laid more often.. *shrug*
  • *I* would call Brad Pitt a dork.
    He's not a good actor either.

    I think his best role was in True Romance.

  • I basically agree on points 1 & 2, but disagree on 3.

    While reading and writing can be learned by almost anyone, technical aptitude is limited to a smaller part of the population, and many of them don't want to be geeks, if only for the social stigma. I believe the techie job market will remain better than that of the economy overall for at least another decade, but then there could be some major shifts by then, technologically, or economical that could prove this completely false.
  • Im sorry but; "they fathom the great Internet mystery."...what mystery?

    and "shuffling between websites with the ease of a speeding gazelle" is just hilarious.

    Watch me as a I click that Submit button with the ease of a speeding gazelle.

  • I think I disagree with the idea that it's easier to be a net elite than a member of the jet-set. I know for myself (and I'm only a yung'un) that I've spent a huge number of my waking hours reading, coding, learning, researching, debating, .... to end up with the amount of knowledge and experience I already have. I wouldn't say that it's easy to become a geek. It takes years of hard work and is a constant struggle to keep up with the times. Much like any other clique it takes hard work and some talent to become a member of the elite.

  • by timur ( 2029 ) on Thursday July 29, 1999 @09:42AM (#1776615)
    Sorry, but it'll never happen. Geeks, just don't have what it takes to be involved in any kind of social scene. Oh sure, geeks can get together and talk amongst themselves, but that communication is typically limited to cursing at the Quake server.

    A bunch of overweight, pimple-faced, poorly dressed Linux users in one room do not constitute a gathering of the future social elite.
    Timur Tabi
    Remove "nospam_" from email address

  • by Evangelion ( 2145 ) on Thursday July 29, 1999 @09:45AM (#1776617) Homepage
    Excuse me if I am not looking forward to a future populated by chat rooms and disconnected OS wars.

    This is just another in a continuing series of articles that are simply trying to attract readers who style themselves 'geeks'. Katz suffers the same symptoms - by glorifying the ideal of 'being a geek' (without truly understanding what he's saying - i.e. that anyone who is different on even a remotely intellecutal scale is suddenly a 'geek' according to the new Geek Chic social forces), and by attacking old social structures (not realizing that any new ones that get built will suck just as much for those who aren't a part of them) he feels he is now sufficently rebellious and intellectual to hand down 'Geek Manifestos'.

    This article is just more of the same, just not from Katz. It's writer is just trying to appeal to geeks that have inferiority complexes, without really realizing what a 'Net-Set' crowd would be like (i.e. sitting around trading pr0n and playing Quake is what I would imagine a 'Net-Set' get-together would be like).

    How can you have a social elite comprised of a (by the classical pop definition of 'geek') socially inept group of people?

    (The social elites of the future, btw, will likely be those who further mutilate thier bodys and minds in order to become physically and sexually attractive - and most of us will care less and less, just like it's always been) (because, when you get right down to it, the social elites are the ones that you see on the cover of tabloids and on TV tabloid shows, etc. And I wouldn't wish being a 'social elite' on my worst enemy.)

  • I think your suggestion that the increasing wealth of the Net Set might actually be making them an anti-elite is a valid one (and not off-topic, as your reply's score says).

    There appears to be more to eliteness than money. Other than Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, how many computer celebrities can the person-on-the-street name? And just how fondly do they think of BillG, anyway?

    Someone else mentioned in another reply that the idea of geeks in general being elite is just wishful thinking. It seems to me that the elite have to have entertainment value, and geeks are entertaining only to themselves. For geeks to be deemed truly cool and elite, the rest of society would have to adopt the values of geeks... meaning an end to social elitism! So, the idea that the Net Set is the new Jet Set would be paradoxical. (How's that for simplistic thinking :) )

    Anyway, aren't the Jet Set people the ones in the tabloids? Of course, no sane person would want to be in the tabloids, but the fact is, I've never been paying for my groceries and seen the headline, "Exclusive! Microsoft-Intel Meeting Ends in Messy Tryst!"

  • Do we really believe that the elite of the world will give up their power to a bunch of hackers/geeks like us?

    I don't think so.

    Most likely, in an effort to maintain their status, they will become geeks (or try like hell, or fake it, or something) as well as the philanderers, cutthroats, etc. that they already are. That is, if that's what it takes to continue their 'ascent to power'.

    Either that or they'll make rules to keep the poor poor -- Just look at the stockmarket.. who gets richer? The rich. Who stays poor (or gets poorer)? The poor. The RedHat IPO is at the heart of the matter -- to take advantage of the enormous profit potential, you must either A) have a lot of money, B) have a lot of money, or C) be willing to lie your ass off and pretend like you have a lot of money. Hmm. Where does that leave most of us? Money obviously begets money, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's someone somewhere sitting and snickering because (s)he knows that most people don't have the opportunities to make money that they do, and that the profit is all theirs. How many of us have the US$5Mil that it takes to open an account with Goldman-Sachs? I'd be willing to wager that not many of us do.

    .. And if we do make it to to the top ? Well, as someone mentioned before.. Power Corrupts. I know I'll have no problem living the good life..and I'll probably want to stay there. As Frank Herbert put it: 'Absolute Power corrupts Absolutely' ..

    The cycle will perpetuate itself, ad infinitum, IMO.

    Just my $.02 --
  • Most nerds I know aren't able to handle that much drugs and booze. T'ain't gonna happen.
  • Before you complain about us showing you compassion, remember what women have done and are doing to us.

    Okay, I don't normally act the part of the anti-male feminist (and won't now) but please-- admittedly, a lot of women leave a LOT to be desired. But in admitting that (as a women), hopefully some men out there will have the guts to admit that a lot of men leave a lot to be desired as well. Stereotypes bashing one sex or the other, IMHO, seem fairly riduculous. Sure, some women reject geeks for being geeks.. whatever it is we're defining "geek" to be (other than people biting off the heads of chickens). But as another woman posted early, we can't deny that women *and* men have been given both the short end of the stick in some situations and preferential treatment in others.


  • Am I the only one who thinks this is the dumbest thing they have ever heard/read? (considering those who are generally most in-the-know are the administrators, and the people who are doing all the "Web surfing" are largely morons...)
  • I would suggest that the chief difference between the geek community and the social elite is that geeks base the level of "eliteness" that they consider people to be at by how much they respect them. I respect people based mainly on intelligence, integrity, friendliness, and how good they are at whatever they happen to do.

    The social elite Hollywood culture is based ot on respect but on envy. It is not the goal of the social elite to be respected, but envied. Hence the lavish lifestyles and trophy spouses.

    Geeks climb by making themselves more respectable, such as by getting better at something. The social elite want to be "the envy of all they see".
  • I'm curious, does this mean I'm cool now?

    Are geeks the next girl-chasing badboys? Will high school chicks now wear their boyfriends pocket protector instead of the grad jacket/leather jacket? Will young women finally realize that a sensible car and a steady intellectual job are better than a Camaro driving redneck working at the 7-11?

    Some how I don't think so.

    TheGeek []

  • The Jet-Set are only the arbiters of society because of money. As long as they have the money and as long as the world is primarily capitalistic, they will dictate most everything one can imagine. The Net-Set usurping this power would imply a significant shift in the capital structure of society, which I don't see happening in either the short or long term.

    -jason []
    "home of fine hypertext products"
  • I hope this article is BS.
    I don't want to be a member of the cultural elite.
    I want to revel in my early-twenties angst!
    I enjoy being the outcast. I wouldn't be happy any other way. :)
  • Anonymous Coward, to quote you: "Geek men have been discriminated against by women so much that you don't have the right to make this comment. How many of us have had women reject us simply because we are geeks, preventing us from having relationships with women???? The answer is many."

    You poor thing. So because you couldn't get a date, now *all* women do not have a right to comment on this issue? Tell me, in your early years did you try to ask out only the cheerleaders and hot babes, or the "geeky" girls? Did you even *look* at the "geeky" girls?

    Does all this come down to some sort of perverse revenge because you couldn't get a date? Give me a break.
  • there's a reason you get denied.
    it's not because you're a geek, it's because you are an asshole.

    one reason i love my boyf is because he's a geek. it's a turnon, not a turnoff.

    climb out of your hole once in awhile.
  • i'd have to take a laptop while i was at it.
  • Now, hang on, this doesnt apply to me. I've been 3r337 since the day I was born....

    Dave Brooks (
  • Maybe instead of Football and Basketball teams in Highschool maybe now we will have HTML and Perl teams. We can sing songs like "They call him mister Java..." instead of mister touchdown. The cheerleaders will call the other team "Wimps" (Windows Icons Mice and Pointers). The BMOC would be the guy who can set up virt user tables the fastest instead of the Quarterback.

    This would also eliminiate all this school violence because the Football dorks wont be able to look on the internet on how to make bombs. And since they don't play Duke Nukem, they really wont even have the desire for such behavior.

    The best part though is that I'm gonna get laid!

  • by jabber ( 13196 ) on Thursday July 29, 1999 @09:52AM (#1776633) Homepage
    Sometime in the middle of the next decade, we'll all be sitting around a virtual cafe, talking on our cellular iPhones, paying for our Java applets with eCash, comparing notes on our vacations.

    Say, Buffy, tell us again about how you were slummin' it with that computer illiterate English Lit major... Is it true that he really didn't know how to use Linux?? And did he really use one of those... umm, those, you know. Them keyboard things without a monitor... You know, where what you type goes right onto paper, and there's no UNDO or anything.. Man, I'll tell you what! That's down right arcane. Let them use T-1's is what I say.

    So, Trevor ol'chap! How's that new IPv6 multicast router project coming along? Have you uploaded your IPO proposal to First Virtual Bank yet.. Oh, hold on, my PalmPilot is beeping:
    [aside: talking to live vid on PalmX] Hi hon, no, no, yes.. Well just email the grocery store and have them deliver another gallon of milk then.

    No thanks! The upper crusties will always and forever be the rich, pretty, Ivy and ascot types. We're Morlocks, and now and again we'll get to eat us an Eloi debutante. And that's fine.

    Let THEM eat their damn cake. Let them play their golf and go to their cheese and wine shindigs. We have more substantial and satisfying things with which to occupy our craniums than social politics.

    If we ever become da'shit, we'll probably be to busy to notice.
  • Considering he was gay, I'd say you were right. However, I bet Isaac Newton got some girl in the sack by asking her to help integrate his functions, or somesuch.
  • Whenever I visit my relatives, they regard me as 'hip' and 'with it.' To them, being on the net and writing code is exciting. They wish they could do it... seriously!

    My Uncle S. is always asking me what is the newest happening thing going on with technology. I've talked to him about Linux,, and more recently the Red Hat IPO. This is happening shit, man!

    I know my life seems pretty typical to me, but to others it is like "whoa... he like knows where to find stuff on the web and a talks to people over the Internet and he writes cool programs... wow..." It is wierd.

  • True, but it's not really about the physical battle between jocks and nerds, but a matter of which is respected more (if you're talking about Net Set vs. Jet Set). Which group is respected for what they do, not who they are. It's all about saying geeks are cool for being geeks (I sure think we are). A meritocracy, as was said: being praised for something worthwhile (your hard-earned knowledge set), not who your parents are, etc.

  • For some of us, living well includes being fit.

    I ride a mountainbike on some of the nastiest singletrack you can dream of every night. There's a lot more to life than sitting in front of a computer every hour of every day.

    When I go home from work, it's time to do something else. Sometimes it involves geek stuff like building radios, networks, or writing code...but it usually involves being out of the house doing something more worthwhile.

    Doing nothing but computers isn't living at all, let alone living well.
  • Here, here, old chap! ;=)
    Amen, brother!
  • congrats!

    You have managed to efficiently scrap a language!
  • WTF? "Those who fathom the internet?" Give me a break. There can't be that few of us around, can there?

  • I'm pretty sure I was the best Doom/Quake player in my school back in highschool.

    I didn't get me any cheerleaders.

    In fact, there were no Quake cheerleaders... maybe they all went for the Starcraft dudes...
  • My impression is that most of us (at least, those of us who are male) are spending lonely nights hacking, not being followed around at parties by adoring crowds. My personal experience suggests that most people associate "computer programmer" with "boring"; if they ask what I do for a living, I tell them very quickly, and then change the subject to something they can relate to.

    There might be some glamorization of programmers in the popular imagination, but for me and the other hackers I know, it doesn't seem to translate into any real social opportunities. Despite the profusion of chat services, the web is still an extremely difficult place to make friends, and even if you do manage to connect with someone, you're unlikely to ever meet them in person.

    When we're away from our computers, we're in the same boat as everyone else.

  • oKay... i dID as you SDuggested and i'm laoded on Meth. I founD a gazeLLe in the PaRJikng lot, and i bRought her iNSIde. sHJe didN't liKe the linUX box oR the Win98 or mac cpoMuters. iNfact, she reFused to surf tHe web on anyHting but an amiGa...

    i thInmk thsi mEans somEthing.
  • This is all crap. I mean really, did anyone pay any attention to the 80's? The tailored suit business man "corporate raider" was the coolest thing in the world, which everyone thought would be the cool thing in the future. Now it's geeks? Give me a break, the coolness of geeks will last another decade, if that, then some other social strata would be cool and hip and chic. You know, the computer isn't everything, there was a world before it and there will be one after it.
  • Maybe monkeys will be able to do it soon Article On Video Game Playing Monkeys. [] (Make sure to read past the bit about the monkey video game for humans to the part about the human video games for monkeys.) Ok, maybe they can't "shuttle between websites," but it would be really fun to play against a monkey in Doom especially if he/she were a competitive opponent, IMHO. Don'tcha think? They've got to start wiring up zoos!!
  • Doing nothing but computers isn't living at all, let alone living well.

    I'd have to beg to differ there. I don't know about others but the computer offers something unique for me.

    I, myself, tend to compare the computer to more of a (metaphorically speaking) musical instrument than anything else.

    To me, when I sit down to the computer and code, it becomes an extension of myself. I love to delve into multimedia programming. Lines upon lines of endless code, working towards some end result...some visual product.

    Albeit, that's not all I do, but I sure do a hella lot of it. To me, the "geek/nerd-computer-tunnel-vision" is a release. I'd like to think there's something Zen about it. :)

    Jonny Angel
  • Only in America. Here in the UK it is _impossible_ to do well at school and be cool. Just not possible. I will always remember two boys in my secondary school receiving a standing ovation in a Chemistry class for scoring 7% and 14%. I was sent to the head (principal) because I _could not_ stop laughing.
  • Here's my question:

    Is it more cool for me to lock myself in a room to masturbate to pornographic magazines or to lock myself in a room to masturbate to pornographic images downloaded across the Web?

    Just using the Internet doesn't make anyone cool.
  • >Does knowing how TCP/IP works get you a date?
    actually, it has.

    A person living on the same floor of the droms as me needed to email a paper to a prof and couldn't
    do it (her ppp numbers were all incorrecrt.) I fix this and we go out to dinner afterwords (with her paying no less)
  • > Of course, part of the blame goes to society. It
    > is completely acceptable for a woman to trade on
    > her looks instead of her brain/abilities. But
    > half of society is female.

    This argument is a little fallacious. I don't think society is humanitarian enough. But the whole of society is composed of humans... what could possibly be the problem?!

    > And don't bother trying the stud/slut argument.
    > How many sluts don't get married because they've
    > slept with too many men? How many women won't
    > hang with their girl friends because their girl
    > friends are sluts?

    Since you ask: the answer is that way more women are ostracised in this way than men.

    You are massively oversimplifying the issues here!
    1. First off, classifying attractive women as stupid is, in itself, a stupid stereotype. Ugly women like to perpetuate this myth.
    2. Second, the fact that you readily lump them into the "dumb group" shows you guilty of the same "class judgement" that so-called-jocks are.
    3. Third, anyone who chooses a PalmV over a week in Aspen either:
      • Doesn't like Aspen -or-
      • Is just plain dumb. (perhaps best employed as a cheerleader)
    4. If "true" geeks are so intellectually superior, be sure of this: no-one without a technical bent will be able to judge it. Those who will be heralded as "net-setter uber-geeks" by the masses will:
      • Have a suit and an MCSE certificate.
      • Display perfect teeth.
      • Smile alot.
      • Assemble buzz-words into a colorful verbal canvas
  • Those commercials make my skin crawl, and turn me even further away from ever wanting a Mac. Gee, let's revel in our cluelessness and be proud of our fear of learning anything technical.

    oooh, computer's are too hard, I'll buy an Imac.
    Cooking's too hard, I'll get frozen dinner.
    Voting's too hard, I'll watch MTV instead.

  • I think you unwittingly revealed what might be the reason that the geek elite will never be.

    Let's take on one facet of social elitism: attractiveness to the opposite sex. Most geeks will remain unattractive to the opposite sex (in general) because of the nature of the geek community. To wit, geeks -- guy and girl geeks alike -- have a reputation for asexuality. Geeks live in a world of ideas. Non-geeks live in a world of physical things. It comes down to values. Maybe the article would be more accurate if it's point were that the geek community now is complex enough to have an elite and whatnot. Which is hardly a revelation, but I guess it sounds more interesting to compare them to the Jet Set.

  • When cars became mass-produced, did auto mechanics become celebrities? Think about it.

    Working on cars is something most people can do. Not everybody can write their own device drivers though. It's more akin to 'rocket scientist' and 'brain surgeon' than it is to 'auto mechanic'.

  • Well most geeks respect and understand the IE/Netscape argument (current working versions, not future products or company visions.)
    But if you try to argue the superiority of any of their products you deserve to be laughed at, just as I deserve to be lauged at when I state with pride that "I'm muscular, I'm cute, and damnit people like me." (as they are all lies and intended as a joke)

  • Does knowing how TCP/IP works get you a date? Not yet, at least not with the women down at TGI Friday's.
  • by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Thursday July 29, 1999 @08:58AM (#1776718) Homepage
    clothing optional for telecommuters
  • Hey, last time I went into a bar wearing a linux shirt, thousands upon thousands of women came up to me and asked me if I wanted a dance. I had to fend them all off with a stick.

    Shortly after that, I took the dollar bill off my nose and left "The Jiggly Room" only to go to a TGI Fridays. The woman there didn't seem to appreciate my penguin laden attire.

    The moral is, I think it all depends on where you hang your hat.

    Keep your stick on the ice,
    Don =D
  • "Merit" can only be calculated in a context. I may have high merit as a programmer, but low merit as an administrator, for example.

    What this means is that a "meritocracy" has to be sure to calculate merit on the relevant characteristics. Those characteristics are unlikely to be solely technical for anything but the most trivial of social groupings.

    Therefore: FascDot's Law--As technology advances, the more technologically literate will become more powerful (politically, socially, etc), all else being equal.

    Corollary #1: If Joe Random is technologically literate but not powerful, "all else" must not equal--i.e. he doesn't know the first thing about history, psychology, economics, politics, etc, etc , etc.

    A good argument for 4 year degrees for computer nerds, no?
    Put Hemos through English 101!
  • That explains why my new wife, who is incredibly attractive, married me, who is NOT.

  • I find it frightening, in a way. Whenever anything becomes trendy, rich kids with attitude push all the regular people outta the way and party. I'm not in any way pretending the net should or could be egalitarian, but watch for the poseurs to come outta the woodwork when it becomes trendy. (hasn't it already? Color bitmaps on shrinkwrapped Linux boxes at Best Buy??)

    We're already seeing people (myself included) backing the heck outta 'the linux scene' for similar reasons. I hope the various BSD communities can bear the load when a lot of people with practical reasons for running a free Unix bail outta the linux party room looking for a quiet place to get some work done.

    Meritocracy? Surely you jest. When the room fills up with newbies new things become more important like apperances, etc.

    I remember when a similar social phenomenon happened in "The Punk Scene." (where, granted, there was no meritocracy unless there is merit in self-destructive nihilism) All kinds of new people with expensive punk costumes started dominating the dance floor at the club one night. Then I noticed cameras were filming them. I bailed outta there. Haven't wanted to go back much.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe