Name this social phenomenon!

I’m attending a conference on YouTube and the 2008 Election.  This being a tech-friendly conference, the organizers have courteously placed plugs under the tables for people to plug in their laptops.  What’s odd about this is the number of people dressed in business clothes crawling under tables to plug in or plug out of the ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast.

I'm attending a conference on YouTube and the 2008 Election.  This being a tech-friendly conference, the organizers have courteously placed plugs under the tables for people to plug in their laptops. 

I’m attending a conference on YouTube and the 2008 Election.  This being a tech-friendly conference, the organizers have courteously placed plugs under the tables for people to plug in their laptops. 

What’s odd about this is the number of people dressed in business clothes crawling under tables to plug in or plug out of the sockets.  It looks perfectly normal now, but perhaps a decade ago one would have looked askance at someone ducking under such a table. 

Similarly, I lived in the South Side of Chicago when the handless cell phone got hot.  Before its use, there already were a number of people talking out loud to no one around them.  After its use, it was difficult at times to distinguish between the tech crowd and the… differently mentally abled crowd. 

There should be a name for technological innovations that make what appears to be abnormal behavior normal.  Readers are requested to:

  1. Come up with other examples of this kind of phenomenon;
  2. Name it.

Go!!

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner

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