The leadup to the Consumer Electronics Convention (CES 2012) has been a big week for technology because of a few unlikely players.
President Barack Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and infamous MTV VMA attendee Kanye West have unexpectedly stuck their noses in the technology world. Their entries signal the end of nerd domination of the tech world. The power has moved from mom's basement to the master bedroom. While each of these figures has set their eyes on a specific segment of the tech world, their embrace signifies a radical shift in the way we think about technology.
In a sign of the shift three days ago, the Obama campaign joined Instagram, the hipster-izing photo taking and sharing iPhone application. Instagram is wildly popular for its special effect filters, which are often used to give cell phone pictures a retro look.
Obama used the platform to send out two pictures from a videoconference he was having with Iowa caucus attendees. Since unveiling its Instagram account, the Obama campaigns has asked the public to submit photos from the campaign trail on Twitter using the hashtag #Obama2012. There was a dramatic spike in the use of the hashtag on Thursday evening around 6 p.m. (EST) according to Hashtags.org, the self-proclaimed standard for hashtag information.
Bloomberg made headlines after committing to learning how to code using the site from the New York-based group Codecademy. My New Year's resolution is to learn to code with Codecademy in 2012! Join me. http://codeyear.com/ #codeyear, the mayor said in a tweet. Bloomberg sent the tweet out around 2 p.m. (EST) which sent the hashtag #codeyear skyrocketing soon after, according to data from Hashtags.org. Bloomberg was praised by many in the tech world as well as fellow politician and mayor of London Boris Johnson. Codecademy was also excited to hear the news. The group tweeted back at Bloomberg saying that they'd personally teach him if he stopped be their office.
Kanye West went a step further than Bloomberg. He doesn't want to learn to how to code. Instead, he plans to start a tech company named Donda. West revealed his entrepreneurial ambitions in a huge series of tweets:
West goes on to say that DONDA will have more than 22 divisions with a goal to make products and experiences that people want and can afford. In the past, he has embraced technology platforms, though he has not pursued any entrepreneurial endeavors like many other rappers, such as Jay-Z, who owns a clothing line among many other products.
Whether West's business is successful, Obama's Instragram becomes popular or Bloomberg is able to learn to code, these big-name endorsements mark the end of an era in which technology was completely run by nerds. In this day and age, the post-Steve Jobs Era, everyone has become the user. In fact, it is a detriment for any of these people in the public eye not to be connected.
With CES 2012 just around the corner, I won't only be watching for the next great gadget--I'll be watching for which celebrity embraces an up-and-coming technology next.