I’ve lately been fooling around with a web site called Quora.com, which is a trendy new social media question and answer portal (probably there are several ways to describe its functionality; that’s as close as I can come). Here is a Time Magazine article about it, and another on Mashable.
Quora is complicated. It incorporates aspects of different social media platforms (voting answers up and down like Digg, followers and following like Twitter, the ability to edit others’ entries like Wikipedia) and currently, in its early adoption phase, seems to favor social media hot shots who’ve brought a lot of acolytes with them onto the service. The nattering nabobs of interweb tech blogging are not sure whether it’s The Next Big Thing or A Terrible Idea, and they’re currently burning up the social media echo chamber with their bloviations on the topic.
As retrotechies, why should we care? Perhaps we shouldn’t. All I know is this: Quora has a ‘typewriter’ category. I’ve populated the five or so questions that have been posted there with my answers, as part of my ongoing attempt to evangelize the typecasting movement. To quote Speculator:
“Like Tom Furrier says, “all it takes is a reminder.” And that’s just it. People see how practical and instantaneous and portably efficient typewriters are- combined with the charm of the mechanisms, and ideas are born- such that more folks go looking for their own typewriters.”color>
I’d like to see all of us take opportunities, where they exist, to provide thorough, thoughtful information about typewriters and retrotech for this reason. The more typewriter users and fans we can create, the more hope there is for typewriter shops, ribbon manufacturing, snail mail, and typewriter social networks and events.
For some time, Wikipedia has had a definition of “typecasting” (I do not know the author, do you?) which is the only example I know of a reference to typecasting outside of the typosphere itself (although, recent stories in local newspapers about type-in events certainly qualify as such, now that I think about it). I’d like to see more. As a technical writer, I have long worked in organizations that think first to evangelize products within their own web sites, but the truth of the matter is, social media platforms are where people hang out. You have to bring the message to the platform if you want the word to get out.
And so, Quora provides one such opportunity to sign up, answer questions, and ask others, thereby building an official and high-quality external record of information about retrotech. I think it’s worth considering as an act of “typostolate,” a term coined by Speculator to describe the act of evangelizing retrotech.