#26 Not Using the Phone

No group dislikes talking to other people on the phone quite as much as nerds do. Surely there is a generational component to this dislike as well, but the average twenty-something is generally willing to phone to order pizza, where the average nerd will order something revolting on Foodler to avoid such a conversation. At one engineering office where close surveillance is possible, many of the employees choose to eat at what is uniformly recognized to be the worst of the nearby food options, solely because said greasy spoon has an online order system.

The iPhone is a dreadful tool for placing and receiving phone calls, and yet the amount of concern over that fact is remarkably limited given that it pretty much sucks at being--well, a phone. But since nerds make up a substantial component of its user base, the iPhone sails merrily along being a fantastic mini-computer and a substandard phone.

It may be that nerds require more social cues than the average person, and thus losing visual cues makes conversation impossible. It may be that nerds recognize that there are more efficient ways of communicating most pieces of information—ways that make use of the ability to type 100 wpm and don’t involve a guy named Vito mishearing sausage for cilantro. It may be that no human being has ever liked talking on the phone, but that most are better at hiding it. It may be that the nerd’s ideal phone is a iPod Touch.

#25 April Fools

Remember when Google debuted their PigeonRank system in 2002? It was a delightful diversion that illustrated what a vibrant and playful company Google is. It was unexpected whimsy, and there were a few--though not, I think, amongst the nerd community--who even wondered if there was any way it might possibly be real.

Fast forward to 2011, and we are embroiled in all-out April Fools Day war. Every tech company with a shred of humor (and even some without) now has a gag of some sort on their website. Google has one for each of its myriad beta projects. While some are still funny (I expect to have a lovely golden glow when I get back from here), the sense of surprise has been lost.

As a community, nerds have the tendency to jump on a clever piece of humor with a Mozartian number of variations. And why not? One of the most defining elements of nerd-dom is it's non-traditional sense of humor combined with a level of social awkwardness; no surprise that these jokes get repeated year after year having gained traction when they were new and shiny.

None of this will stop me from pre-ordering Angry Nerds of course.