From my perspective as geek and guru I have been busy in recent weeks working on GeekHistory.com. As my personal outlet to educate and share ideas on the history of technology I hope to draw attention to the many forgotten geeks that have contributed to the evolution of technology.
It concerns me that so many myths and legends are becoming accepted as facts on the internet. I hate the mentality that Google and Wikipedia have all the answers. Google filters the results based on what Google thinks. What you see on Wikipedia can be biased in ways you are not aware of. People often answer questions from their perspective, from their world. They don't consider they are looking at the quesion strictly from their eyes.
I've been involved in technology all my life, and I am fascinated with the history of technology. Sometimes when answering a question, and looking at other answers, I realize that the perspective of people outside the US is very different from mine. Even living on the East Coast of the US, where there is a lot of technology, the perspective of things can be very different from someone in a rural area in the midwest, where they don't have the best internet connection or cell phone service.
I've been hanging out on various online communities since the internet went commercial back in the mid 1990s. Back in the days of Compuserve they called them SIGs, Special Interest Groups. I've been through the evolution of special interest groups, to bullentin boards, and online communities. Sometimes answering a question helps me to rethink things for myself, gets me to see things in ways I have not seen them before. I've never physically left North America, been to Canada and Mexico, but not beyond that. Thanks to the internet I have people who I consider a friend all over the world. That's pretty cool. I keep in touch via social media with many people I have connected with online over the years.
The truth is out there
Too many internet myths and legends work against the most accurate answer becoming the most popular. One of the biggest misconceptions of any type of history is when a single person is credited for a discovery we often fail to realize that the discovery was not the work of a single person done in a void of any outside influence. Many times the person given credit for an invention is one of a number of persons who can easily be credited for the invention.
Before you can answer the question as to who invented something, you need to define invention. Does the first person to theorize the concept on paper get credit for the invention? Is it the first person to build a working prototype really the person who invented it? Is it the person who got credit for the concept at the US Patent office really the owner of the invention? Is it the person who first commercially marketed the product really the one who gets credit for the invention?
When I post blog articles like this I address common questions, and state, based on my experience, here is what I think. On a blog hearing answers from individuals, you can learn their perspective, and use the information accordingly.
Although I use headlines and titles on GeekHistory to provoke thought, I try to address information there from a very neutral perspective to educate and share ideas. There is an overwhelming abundance of conspiracy theories on the internet claiming that Edison cheated his contemporary inventor Nikola Tesla out of fame and fortune. Nikola Tesla was a great visionary, I don't deny that. But there is a cult like following of Tesla, turning him into a mythological geek god. I don't understand that. There is hatred towards Thomas Edison and other contemporaries of Tesla because they "wronged" Tesla. Where does all the exaggerated information come from?
Check out the latest addition to Geek History: You don't need to be a genius to know why Thomas Edison was popular
Guru 42 ponders the question: In search of information and advice who do you trust
Learn more about myths and legends from Questy:
Connect with Tom Peracchio on Google