There’s no way around it, if you are wearing Google Glass, you look like a douche and will probably act like one too.
I mean really, look at the above picture of me and imagine hanging out with me at a party. Having trouble imagining that scenario? Let me help you out…
Me (wearing Glass): What’s up! Glad you came out tonight!
You: Hey… is that the, umm…
Me: Yup, Google Glass, what’s up! Check this out… OK GLASS, TAKE A PICTURE. Wait, hold on, it takes a second, you moved, stand there, OK GLASS, TAKE A PICTURE. I just took a picture of you! (eyes up and to the right, finger to side of glass, scrolling through gallery, but you have no idea what I’m doing)
You: … (waiting)
Me: So what’s up? How’s things?
You: Great, I’m working on this new project at work that…
Me: (eyes up and to the right)
You: … this project at work that is really cool because… (waiting)
Me: (eyes back on you, but finger on side of Glass)
You: … really cool because we get to work with this rad agency.
Me: OK GLASS, SEND A MESSAGE TO CASSIE “ARE YOU COMING?”
You: Cool, well, I’m going to get a drink.
(End scene, exit bar)
New Social Dynamics
Now, I love that Google is innovating and building the future. I love the idea of wearable computing. I want a pair of Google Glasses, but, the weird social dynamic that’s created while wearing them is going to be a huge hurdle to mass adoption.
In my limited time wearing them, I wasn’t sure if I should be looking at my friends or at the Glass display. When my friends wore them, I was constantly distracted by their eyes darting back and forth between me and the Glass display. The resulting conversations were heavily disjointed.
If you and I are talking, and I bring out my iPhone and start using it, it’s clear I need a second to do whatever I’m doing on my phone. It may be rude, but it happens and you know how to react. Glass may require my attention, and get it, without me having to pull a device from my pocket, or physically act in a way that would break our conversation. It’s way more subtle, which is awesome for the Glass wearer, but way more awkward for the other party.
Assuming Google Glass evolves and becomes the must-have gadget, which I think it will, it’s going to create a whole new social dynamic. There isn’t an etiquette for this type of device yet, but there will be. I wonder if the etiquette that develops is not wearing them in social situations, or everyone wears them all the time and we are always only partially socially engaged. The latter both scares, and excites me.
The Flaunting Glassholes
I remember when I got the original iPhone. I felt like part of a new privileged crowd. I was excited about my new device, but hesitant to show it in public because everyone would want to see it and comment on how awesome it was. That made me uncomfortable, but not enough to return the phone, I’m way too much of a gadget nerd.
With Glass, starting now, you are either flaunting your device, or you are not using it. If you are wearing Glass, you are proclaiming to the world that you are a privileged early adopter. Some people might like that, but I think most people won’t. If that’s true, there will be a huge percentage of the possible Glass-wearing population that will want to wait until wearing Glass is socially acceptable. If we all wait, we’ll probably delay social acceptance of the device and push back the date where wearing Glass become okay for people that don’t want to be “glassholes.”
Can I haz Glass?
All that said, I want my own Google Glass. I love the idea of a small display in my peripheral vision notifying me with relevant data and available for me to learn more about the world around me. This is a nerd’s dream. This is one step closer to the virtual OASIS described in Ready Player One (one of my favorite books), which inspires and excites me.
With Glass, I’m excited to… actually, hold on… (eyes up and to the right)
OK GLASS, SEND A MESSAGE TO LUKE “NO, I CAN’T DO PUSH UPS RIGHT NOW, I’M WORKING ON A MEDIUM POST”
… sorry, With Glass, I’m excited to see the world through… hold on…
OK GLASS, TAKE A PICTURE
OK GLASS, SEND PICTURE TO LUKE
OK GLASS, SEND A MESSAGE TO LUKE “CHECK MY PECS YO, I DON’T NEED TO DO PUSH UPS”
OK GLASS, SEND A MESSAGE TO LUKE “YES, I’M WEARING GOOGLE GLASS SHIRTLESS, WHATEVER, DON’T JUDGE ME”
… ok, where was I?