The first step, if you’re wearing Glass in the Bay Area, is to be a woman.

It seems like a big commitment, sure, but, in my experience spending two days wearing Glass (intermittently), the reaction was not the immediate douchesumption to which my (male) teammates were subjected while wearing them.

Yes, I jest, however, in the Bay Area, there is a stigma around Glass. Google employees and hipster douchebags use them. One never knows when one is being filmed. The wearer clearly has a lot of disposable income and has chosen to spend it on this instead of artisanal hand-made custom charcuterie picked by disenfranchised third world underserved poor [insert trendy term here] people. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Never underestimate the power of the girl geek.

My first step was leaving the office wearing these. I work for a software company, and the first people to stop me were a group of women from my old team, who said “Ooooh, Glass, are you testing it?” and immediately posed as I tried out the verbal commands to take a picture. In tech and acquainted with me, they were comfortable reacting with interest, knowing my intentions.

Bicycling home from the ferry, the reactions from strangers varied, running the broad spectrum from paranoid fear to outright disgust. People in cars, if they noticed I was wearing them, slowed down and gave me a wide berth – likely similar to a reaction they might have had they noticed someone wearing a go-pro. I filmed a bit while riding, finding it only mildly distracting. Once on the ferry, some people turned away, I assume fearing they were being filmed. Others (mostly tech guys and ferry regulars) smiled inquisitively. When my (female CTO) friend joined me on the ferry, she was also excited about it, eager to try it on and get it to work. She filmed this as part of a project I’m doing (my other world, 365 days in the life of an opera singer). For my part, I found myself loudly explaining to her how I came to this thing. I didn’t want people to think it was mine, I wanted people (strangers!) to know that I empathized. I’m like this anyway – the stigma behind Glass heightened it. I wore them to greet my husband when he arrived at home. He laughed, called me a geek, then tried them on. He’s a welder and fabricator, and had little patience for it; the slow and clear speaking, the very specific interactions.

I then checked facebook; before leaving work, I’d posted a picture of myself wearing Glass, and there were comments. Oh, were there comments. I was told I (anyone, actually) would not be allowed on someone’s property while wearing them. That there is now a hack that will start recording with a wink. In fact, despite tens of likes, no positive comments were made; even if anyone wanted to defend Glass, they undoubtedly didn’t want to engage in a debate about it.

The next day, my trapeze instructor was thoroughly fascinated with the technology, until he got bored with the Clear Diction Required.

So what was it like? I did trapeze with it. I never quite got the hang of the finger-touch pad (the thick part of the “arm”). I loved the “look up/back down” to activate, once I got it to work. It just never felt consistent. And, while I did get it connected to my home wifi, I never took advantage of that. I found that it’s easy to accidentally post recently recorded content to facebook (it’s the next step once you’ve completed a video). I loved scrolling over and easily seeing the weather, and didn’t find the actual screen to be obtrusive at all. People were inquisitive or, for the most part ignored it (with the exception of facebook, which falls under the internet rules of “I’ll say anything behind a screen”), which is vastly different from the treatment I’ve witnessed men receive – snarky comments from (other, male) strangers and the like. I feel that I got a more honest experience with the technology because I wasn’t subjected to the same kind of rude treatment as a man in Glass would have been. It kind of made me want the Apple watch – a new way of looking at wearable technology, but far more subtle, and optional. I didn’t like that it was on my face whether or not I was using it. In all, while an interesting desirable object with some cool functionality, and a fantastic insight into the new tech we can look forward to seeing in the coming years, I wouldn’t shell out my own money for Glass. I would probably get a go-pro to serve the same purpose.

Anecdotally, it’s fascinating that people who, while they may not like it, don’t rail against constant surveillance, remain online, continue to do tracked Google searches, are being watched whenever they leave the house or take public transportation or go to work, grasp at the opportunity to speak out against such an obvious recording device. I drive an art car; it’s got faux guns all over it. The reason I don’t get pulled over for it is that a genuinely nefarious person would never do something so obvious to their vehicle. Same with Glass. You can bet that, if someone wants to surreptitiously film you, they’re already doing it, and they sure as hell aren’t using Glass. [edited] A friend points out that the reaction is likely, in part, to have to do with the fact that Glass puts an overt recording device onto people, thus becoming a reactive, human target for people’s frustration with constant surveillance. I would have to agree.

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