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Is White Men Wearing Google Glass potentially a killer meme?

The “White Men wearing Google Glass” is a killer meme, a potential product killer.

A friend who is a prominent geek, always a bit of a rebel and very comfortable with self-promotion, is very concerned about posting a picture of himself wearing Google Glass.

He just got them and was super excited to finally have them, and he told all his social networks about it days in advance. When they finally arrived he told his friends he couldn’t post a photo of himself wearing them for fear of turning up on rapidly proliferating sites specializing in photos of “White Geeks wearing Google Glass.”

I suggested that he try “black face” but that would probably set off another rush for domain names and specialized sites, and make his predicament worse than if he’d stayed natural.

However, if my friend is concerned about posting a picture himself, of himself wearing Glass, what about other geeks, what about any of them wearing their Glass in public? They will all be live fodder for anyone out there. Their photos, of a white guy wearing Glass will end up online, sooner and later — and not in a good, cool kind of way.

There are solutions, one is to only wear them at home in private, watching out for open windows and curtains. Or in public, but wearing large, black sunglasses to hide the interior Glass. Those types of sunglasses can be found at medical equipment stores and don’t require a prescription.

Memes such as these can be product killers. Google knows how to track memes with services such as Google Trends. But does it know what to do in response to negative sentiment, and how best to boost Glass?

Here’s how Google can help boost Glass wearers: encourage diversity within geek communities and workplaces — starting with a radical new hiring policy at Google.

By helping to build diversity within geek society and its sub-cultures, it will be great for business because it will mean that a “white guy” meme can’t be stuck onto any Google products, or its brand. Apple can have it back.

It would be a smart business move because it saddles Apple, a formidable competitor with a big problem. It’ll be solved by Apple, in turn, by building diversity into its brand, and so on, in a domino diversity tumble across a global industry, and it might actually result in something great. All because of “White men wearing Google Glass.”

This article by Tom Foremski originally appeared on Silicon Valley Watcher, a Burn Media publishing partner.

Author | Tom Foremski: In Silicon Valley

Tom Foremski: In Silicon Valley
Tom Foremski is a former Financial Times journalist and the Founder and Publisher of Silicon Valley Watcher, which is an online news site reporting on the business of Silicon Valley and the culture of disruption. More
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  • Zane Slocombe

    My answer is neither a product killer or meme, a meme is hardly ever consciously created. There is enough racism and xenophobia in this world without perpetuating this low grade stuff. Have you not heard of Geek Chic?

    Your friend shouldn’t let some sad lolcats troll define his identity, or even a piece of high tech eye-wear for that matter. This isn’t an i-product, it’s by Google, so like Android is for general consumption, they probably will not make you stand outside a shop all day and let you in one at a time to be high fived by the entire staff for buying it, and how much of a [censored expletive] does one look doing that?

    I thought everyone was outsourcing their ITC development or customer support, to Asia, so it is only people who have spent their entire sheltered lives in locked in a dark cupboard who think that geeks cannot be all colours, shapes, sizes and genders.

    It’s a western centric perception rather than a fact and an insult to all the billions of non-male, non-white ‘geeks’.

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