Looking back on the last few years, I realize something—I’m now…cool. Was I always cool and just didn’t see it? Definitely not.

I wasn’t cool because I was a typical computer geek. I loved TV shows like Star Trek and Firefly. I enjoyed fantasy novels, comic books, and science fiction. I was always playing around with electronics or computers, and I loved studying and learning.

Ten years ago, the only people excited about new technology products were computer geeks. We were the ones who waited in line to see a brand new device. We were the ones who had debates over which product was better when really it didn’t matter.

Then, about five years ago, everything started to change. Apple launched the iPhone and marketed it as the must have device to own. They weren’t selling a phone, but rather the idea that the tech you own can make you cool.

Since then, Apple has become a multi-billion dollar company, with over $76 billion in cash. This doesn’t mean that their products are the best in the world. Instead, the iPhone and subsequent Apple products simply became status symbols—the cool, the elite, the Audi or BMW of the technology sector.

Competitors brought similar products to the table, and suddenly we saw innovation in the tech space that we hadn’t seen for years. And strangely enough, non-geeks became the target market.

This made technology cool, as people began debating what platforms were better: iOS or Android, Windows or Mac; something that once would only have been of interest to geeks.

For the first time, we started seeing non-geeks sharing our passion for technology. Geeks and non-geeks were bridging the digital divide. Television shows like The Big Bang Theory that would ordinarily only appeal to geeks became loved by non-geeks as well.

Many non-geeks don’t understand our geek culture or humour, but the passion for the tech we all use gives us a common bond and we can share being cool with non-geeks. I like that.

This article first appeared in Memorial University’s student newspaper: The Muse http://themuse.ca/2012/11/21/geek-is-the-new-cool/

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