Geek invasions and analysis of stickers

kaliya’s laptop stickers

Originally uploaded by Liz Henry

There’s a lot of geeks in town this week; you may have missed them because it’s Pride week as well. Just fyi, the Web 2.0 hipster influx for Supernova & also for Foo Camp.

I had some serious laptop sticker envy at Supernova. Do you like the stickery punk look on a laptop? I had someone either east-coast or middle-of-the-US tell me that laptop stickering was an obnoxious habit of San Francisco / Silicon Valley brats, that it reeks of privilege, as if to say “Screw you people who don’t think of a computer as disposable, I can take a $2000 machine and crap it up with stickers, it means that little to me.” And in fact that just carrying your laptop everywhere is obnoxious and means your survival does not depend on your computer not being at risk for damage or theft.

This point had not occurred to me at all — since I *am* that brat. I love the stickery thing because it takes the uptight business appliance and makes it a beautiful collage. Fine, it’s mostly a collage of corporate logos… but not always. If you think of the laptop as already having a logo on it, why not deal with that ubiquity of branding by taking control of it and getting a handle on it through bricolage?

The criticism is also a bit weird to me because I’ve never heard anyone say that putting a bumper sticker on a car is an act reeking of privilege and yet a car is an even more expensive appliance. So the principle her is, take an expensive thing, and trash it to show you can, and then carry it around with you all the time as a sort of status symbol. I disagree with that perspective because I don’t think it trashes the computer; it decorates it. And I carry the computer around with me because I’m a geek who likes to be online and (often) because I’m working, so it is no more pretentious than carrying a reporter’s notepad.

I wish there were more people who airbrush and etch their laptops and arted them up. Since I am lazy, and also spent my teenage years making dorky “punk” collages, I’m sticking with the stickers.

If you look at the Flickr Laptop Stickers pool, I wonder how many computers there are West Coast, or specifically SF Bay Area?

What *does* it mean?

1 Comment so far

  1. Sean (unregistered) on June 24th, 2007 @ 9:27 pm

    I prefer to keep my things looking pristine and new. It reminds me of people with suitcases covered in stickers from their travels… to some people it screams “look where I’ve been!!” to me it screams “I’ve been using this crappy old case for years cos I can’t afford a new one”.

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