Zia Hassan

Geeky Universes

At the end of the year, many people on social media ask for podcast, music and book recommendations. There are top 10 lists galore.

So I help out, I make my recommendations, but no one ever checks them out.

Movie recommendations are easier of course, because the selection of available movies to watch is much more limited.

But the internet and niche culture has made it so the podcasts and music and books I really love appeal to me and my geeky communities, but not to everyone else.

No one else that I know personally listens to a 90 minute podcast about productivity on the Mac, for instance. Yet these podcasts are huge in the world of the people that share my particular form of geekery.

I assume what people are looking for in random top 10 lists are the mainstream material, the Serials, the Ariana Grandes. And friend to friend recommendations are important, but everyone is part of different communities with different micro interests. Most of my friendships are built on shared experiences. The overlapping communities are just a coincidental perk.

And perhaps people are hoping to find an overlap by scouting through lists. I’ve certainly done this. But it’s a bit like spelunking; you might come up empty handed.

But then I also have friendships that exist because we live in the same geeky universes. Because we both love pens, or macs, or OmniFocus, or productivity, or folk music, or magic. And those recommendations are gold.

So the question is: should we seek out the work that everyone has been listening to? Should we go for whatever is #1 on the charts?

Or do we think about what makes us unique and then find the work that was made specifically for people like us?