Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Computer Clubs vs Social Media

Has social media entirely replaced computer clubs? I'm not sure. But social networks can supplement computer user groups and robot hobbyist organizations.

Someone on GooglePlus, a social media site, it was a certain Chris Pirillo (catch my  interview with Chris Pirillo on my Blog Talk Radio show) asked the question: "Do you belong to a computer club?".

Some people chimed in with their opinion that people do on social networks what they used to do in real world computer clubs, only it's faster, easier, and more convenient now to update their status and grind out content on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and GooglePlus.

Computer clubs can have appropriate names.

* Detroit Perl Mongers

Central Illinois Robotics Club

* Metro Detroit Linux Users Gropu

* Older Persons Center Computer Club

* Southeastern Michigan Computer Organization

Central Illinois Apple and Macintosh Users Group (CIAMUG)

Of course, this all goes back to the band of outsiders who brought us the first personal computers, the Homebrew Computer Club.

According to Wikipedia:


This was an early computer hobbyist users' group in Silicon Valley, which met (under that name) from March 5, 1975 to December 1986. Several very high-profilehackers and IT entrepreneurs emerged from its ranks, including the founders of Apple Inc.

Though the Homebrew members were hobbyists, most of them had an electronic engineering or programming background. They came to the meetings to talk about the Altair 8800 and other technical topics and to exchange schematics and programming tips.

From the ranks of this club came the founders of many microcomputer companies, including Bob Marsh, George Morrow, Adam Osborne,Lee Felsenstein (wielder of "the big stick", a blackboard pointer used as a prop for his form of moderation), and Apple founders Steve Jobsand Steve Wozniak. John Draper was also a member of the club, as was Jerry Lawson, creator of the first cartridge-based video game system. Ron Jones (Crashed Platter Products and other small businesses) and Jerry Lawson were the only African-American members of the club.[5]

The Homebrew Computer Club's newsletter was one of the most influential forces in the formation of the culture of Silicon Valley. Created and edited by its members, it initiated the idea of the Personal Computer, and helped its members build the original kit computers, like the Altair. One such influential event was the publication of Bill Gates's Open Letter to Hobbyists, which lambasted the early hackers of the time for pirating commercial software programs.

The first issue of the newsletter was published on March 15, 1975, and continued through several designs, ending after 21 issues in December 1977.


I happen to know the Chief Facilitator of the Peoria Area Robot and Computer Appreciation Association (PARCAA), pronounced "par kay", a group that is far deeper and more complex than the club name might suggest to the outsider. 

They are active in digital rights of web users, corporate accountability for customer data, demonstrating new gadgets and accessories, opinionated about haptic immersive technology, hopping rides on the interplanetary internet, and often drinking coffee from budget brands Yuban, Walgreens Nice, and Eight O'Clock, to the more upscale Kupi Luwak, Los Planes, St. Helena, Rwanda Blue Bourbon, Fazenda Sao Benedito, Dallmayr Prodomo, Zanzibar Liberica, and Monkey Parchment.

None of them use social media, preferring email, video chat, or QR code communications planted on flyers posted physically on pre-determined objects in the university campus area, where you scan the code and see a message or video presentation.

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