Why is it that geeks' favourite enemies are... other geeks?

Goldsmiths boffin wades into platform war stories at Reg lecture

Reg Event Geeks have often enjoyed a fractious relationship with non-techies, but nowhere near as toxic as their relationships with other geeks who dare to have slightly different tech preferences.

On October 17, Brian Alleyne, of the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, will join us to discuss how geek and hacker culture has always tended to fracture along techno-tribal lines.

As a former full-time programmer turned sociologist, Brian is the perfect guide to the heated exchanges and tribal conflicts that reach back to the earliest days of personal computing, through games console flamewars, Mac vs. PC, Android vs. iOS, and the ongoing Linux vs. everything else.

Brian will also show how these platform war stories construct the "self" and the "enemy" and how these stories display features of "schismogenesis" – in this case a process of mutually reinforcing amplification of minor differences into major divides. He will discuss arguments over platform switching to Linux and Apple's Mac OS – and show how both mindshare and market share are constructed and debated by plotting numbers as well as stories.

This all takes place at the Yorkshire Grey on Theobalds Road, London, on October 17. The doors will be open from 6.30pm, with the talk proper kicking off at 7pm. And yes, there'll be refreshments, both liquid and solid, on hand.

After the lecture proper, we'll break for a drink and a bite, before opening the floor to questions, giving you the opportunity to discuss exactly why it is that techies reserve their greatest ire for people who to all intents and purposes are just like them.

Who knows, the conviviality might just help you bury the hatchet with a former keyboard enemy. Just don't make a mess if you do, please.

You can get full details and buy tickets here. ®


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