The digerati [dij-uh-rah-tee] are people highly skilled in the processing and manipulation of digital information; wealthy or scholarly techno-geeks. They are the elite of the computer industry and online communities. The word is a portmanteau, derived from ‘digital’ and ‘literati,’ and reminiscent of the earlier coinage glitterati (wealthy or famous people who conspicuously or ostentatiously attend fashionable events). Famous computer scientists, tech magazine writers 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; and anyone regarded as influential within the digital technology community.

The first mention of the word Digerati on USENET occurred in 1992, and referred to an article by George Gilder in ‘Upside’ magazine. According to William Safire, the term was coined by New York Times editor Tim Race in a 1992. In Race’s words: ‘Actually the first use of ‘digerati’ was in a 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.’

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