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The digerati (or digirati) are the elite of digitalization, social media, content marketing, computer industry and online communities. The word is a portmanteau, derived from "digital" and "literati", and reminiscent of the earlier coinage glitterati (glitter + literati). Famous computer scientists, tech magazine writers, digital consultants with multi-year experiences and well-known bloggers are included among the digerati.

The word is used in several related but different ways. It can mean:

  • Opinion leaders who, through their writings, promoted a vision of digital technology and the Internet as a transformational element in society;
  • People regarded as celebrities within the Silicon Valley computer subculture, particularly during the dot-com boom years;
  • Anyone regarded as influential within the digital technology community.

Term history[edit]

The first mention of the word Digerati on USENET occurred in 1992 by Arthur Wang, and referred to an article by George Gilder in Upside magazine. According to the March 1, 1992 "On Language" column by William Safire in the New York Times Magazine, the term was coined by New York Times editor Tim Race in a January 1992 New York Times article.[1] In Race's words:

Actually the first use of "digerati" was in a January 29, 1992 New York Times article, "Pools of Memory, Waves of Dispute", by John Markoff, into which I edited the term. The article was about a controversy engendered by a George Gilder article that had recently appeared in Upside magazine. In a March 1, 1992 "On Language" column in The New York Times Magazine, William Safire noted the coinage and gave me the honor of defining it, which we did like so:
Digerati, n.pl. – people highly skilled in the processing and manipulation of digital information; wealthy or scholarly techno-geeks.


Some people who have been named as members of the digerati, particularly in the first sense of the word, with their title in John Brockman's Digerati: Encounters With the Cyber Elite (1996) in parentheses when they have one, include:



Authors and columnists[edit]


  • Ted Leonsis (The Marketer) President, AOL
  • Steve Case (The Statesman) founder and CEO of America Online
  • Greg Clark (The Physicist) President, News Technology Group, News Corporation
  • John Doerr (The Matchmaker) Venture Capitalist, microprocessor
  • Bill Gates (The Software Developer) founder, Microsoft
  • Steve Jobs (The Alternate Software Developer) founder, Apple
  • Doug Carlston (The Thinker) cofounder, Brøderbund Software
  • Scott McNealy (The Competitor) cofounder and CEO of Sun Microsystems, Inc.
  • Nathan Myhrvold (The Chef) chief technology officer at Microsoft
  • Doug Rowan (The Curator) president and CEO of Corbis
  • Linda Stone (The Catalyst) was an executive at both Apple Computer and Microsoft Corporation. She coined the phrase, "continuous partial attention."[citation needed]



  • Linus Torvalds "(linustorvalds)" The first and foremost developer of the Linux kernel.
  • Richard Stallman "(rms)" The founder of the GNU project, the free software movement, and the Free Software Foundation.
  • Steve Wozniak "(Woz)" Co-founder of Apple Inc., created the Apple I and Apple II computers in the mid-1970s, thus boosting the personal computer revolution.
  • Dennis Ritchie "(dmr)" The inventor of the C programming language, and co-creator of the UNIX operating system.
  • Ken Thompson "(ken)" The inventor of the B programming language, co-creator of UNIX alongside Dennis Ritchie, co-creator of Google's programming language Go.
  • Bill Joy Founder and Chief Scientist of Sun Microsystems. He was the main developer of Berkeley UNIX, and was involved in the development of the Solaris operating system, SPARC microprocessor architecture, and the Java programming language.
  • Brian Kernighan He coined the ubiquitous "Hello World" example program and co-authored the first book on C; also known as a coiner of the expression "What You See Is All You Get (WYSIAYG)".



Digitally successful firms[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Markoff, John (January 29, 1992). "BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY; Pools of Memory, Waves of Dispute – New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  • Digerati: Encounters With the Cyber Elite by John Brockman, Hardcover: 354 pages Publisher: Hardwired; 1st ed edition (October 1, 1996) ISBN 1-888869-04-6

External links[edit]