I have been thinking a lot lately about how one’s perspective and frame of reference informs worldview. Many of us in the geekosphere lose sight of the “real world” sometimes as it pertains to the latest tools, software and other gadgets we love to play with and talk about. I am constantly reminded that the vast majority of the population has never heard of Twitter, doesn’t understand how easy RSS and a feed reader can make your life, doesn’t realize the significance and power of messaging through embeddable online video, etc etc etc. When you talk over people’s heads, you run the risk of alienating people, perhaps permanently.
I recently returned from a European vacation that terminated in Barcelona. I went with my friend who, like me, loves to eat. He spent a lot of time before we left the US researching places to try, using resources like Chowhound and others. It led us to a somewhat difficult to find tapas place on that was better known only to locals. We struck up a nice conversation at the bar with a mid-30s couple who lived around the corner. They were surprised that we had found the place at all since it’s far from the main drag. The woman made a point of saying she lived in Barcelona and it had taken HER a long time to find out about it.
Somehow the conversation turned to the internet and I asked them about their online habits, especially from home after they put their little ones to bed. The husband asked me, “What’s on the internet? I mean, I know there’s tons of information there, but why would I spend my time hanging around online?”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him how we had found the restaurant in the first place…