Let's be real: I'm a geek, but I'm not a robot. I have feelings and preferences. And limits. It's one thing if if you've got a cute video game tattoo, or nostalgic rotary phone tattoo, or even a Terminator-style-peeled-back-skin-revealing-awesome-robotic-alien-from-the-future tattoo -- all of 'dem are just fine. I'm talking 'bout Software. Hardware. Social Media. Where's a human female to draw the line?
The "No One Knows But Me" Tech Tattoo
Your first reaction is probably "What is THAT?" Yeah, it's a tad phallic, but since it's not too recognizable, it's not super offensive. What is it really? It's a logic gate diagram (see more), which is used in hardware design to show how bits should complete complex equations based on simple truth-based rules.
Contextual Permanence: On the permanence scale, this tattoo will make sense (for an extremely small section of society) for another century or so, until we come up with some other way to represent logic or whatevs.
Offensiveness: As uber-nerdy as this is, I find it pretty harmless on the scale of geek-tattoo'ry.
Dealbreaker? Ehhhhh, I know what the tattoo means, but he's not winning any Lover-Points for it. I would probably not ask this guy for his decimal digits.
The "Twitter Has Downtimes and I Do, Too" Tattoo
Hey, I know what that is! It's the Twitter Fail Whale! And you know how that makes me feel? Sort of like how I feel when I'm trying to check my friends' timely updates but, instead, Calvin is pissing on me because the service is unavailable. SORTA FITS, RIGHT? Maybe when this person decided to get this tattoo, he felt emotionally unavailable, like his THOUGHT-SERVERS were overloaded. I get it, alright.
Contextual Permanence: Twitter is still in business, and I'm privy to the occasional whale-spotting, so this is OK. Let's revisit in 10 years, or when the grandchildren of this tattooee ask what the Internet was.
Offensiveness: Minimal. It's the friendly mammal I've seen before being lifted by those side-profile twbirds, and it's got a lot of company with other bright and friendly tattoos.
Dealbreaker? I have this weird inclination to look at this person and say "Awwwwwww! It's okay. Let's get you a gin and tonic!" I'm cool with this one.
The "I'm a Bad Assed Open-Source Coder, and Other Open-Source Coders Think This is Cool" Tattoo
That big ol' W badge is for Wordpress, an open-source blogging and content management system that's pretty damn familiar in the writing and online publishing space. But no writer I know would ever get a tattoo representing their CMS. I sort of get the impression that they're frustrating?
Getting a Microsoft Word tattoo isn't a direct analogy, since it's not free, it's not collaborative for several authors and it's not open-sourced or modifiable (so that any motivated individual could change the software for their own purposes), and it doesn't have a large community of those folks making changes (open source community, PHP developers). But, you know, it's software. It symbolizes productivity, scalability and content; ironic, since a tattoo itself should be the content, amirite?
Contextual Permanence: Wordpress is definitely still around, and the open source community around it is still going strong. This one will be more ridiculous to tell your grandchildren about because it's a platform and it didn't steal the hearts and minds of the world like Twitter and their Fail Whale have.
Offensiveness: Meh. The Bowser-grip certainly doesn't make it any cooler.
Dealbreaker? Yeah, actually. I'm just not that into this one.
The "I Guess I Need To Have a Facebook Marketing Strategy" Celebrity Tattoo, starring T-PAIN
Oh my god. T-PAIN, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? Yeah, I know nobody has to liiiiiiiike you, but why don't you liiiiiiike yourself enough not to get this tattoo?! Is this some reverse-psychological way to get me to actually like you? I can't help but associate the stupid one-click action of gratuitious promotion with this gratuitously stupid and temporal tat. Dislike.
And he even used social media to publicize his terrible social media tattoo! Are we playing some awful Social-Media-Faux-Paux Bingo Drinking Game right now?
Contextual Permanence: Well, if you get one every time you go to Hawaii, GET A BETTER ONE NEXT TIME. This one is already getting lolz.
Offensiveness: Yeah, this is offensive! T-Pain is already the rapper famous for popularizing auto-tune, and now he's famous for pleading for more people to like him by not Liking him. His record label must be so confused.
Dealbreaker? YES! But, consolation High Five for your ballsiness!
The "I Can't Even Look At This Guy's Face, Let Alone Be His Friend Online" Tattoo
Wow! Can't wait to meet this guy next St. Patrick's Day, when he fulfills my every dream and lifts up his shirt to reveal this international symbol of pyscho sexiness! Even the choice placement below the navel reminds me of the MySpace killer I went to college with (true, creepy story). Hey, at least he didn't change the motto to be something super vulgar and sexist! F+.
Seriously, we should let you explain yourself. Maybe you're really cool! Maybe you're a lawyer, striving for civil rights justice; or maybe you're an organic farmer who's invented a fertilizer runoff reduction system or something. Maybe this tattoo (and this picture on the Internet) really turned your life around!
Contextual Permanence: (laughs)
Offensiveness: (still laughing)
Dealbreaker? Dude, I'm sorry you're on the Internet. This is a no-go.
The "Apple Is Going Nowhere With Their iPods" Tattoo
I love this guy. I want to be best friends with this guy. And yes, I kept his priceless, beautifully-confused/accused face intact. The symbol you see is the logo for Microsoft's Zune, a personal mobile device for listening to music (sorta like an iPod) with a music software platform where you can add more music and media to your device (sorta like iTunes). Sourcessay it's been put to bed by Microsoft, but, if you're learning of it for the first time, you can see why it's tattoo-worthy -- it's got INDIE CRED!! Either this guy got the tattoo thinking that Microsoft was about to make a humongoid comeback with a chocolate-brown FM-radio-transmitting device, OR he revels in the irony of the Plans of Man Gone Wrong.
Contextual Permanence: Awesome. The only thing that would make this tattoo even more awesome right now would be some angels or a RIP right below it. If he really wants to erase all familiarity, he could just get it darkened so much that it just looks like a cool geometric thingie.
Offensiveness: Minimal! If you don't recognize the logo, you'll never have to!
Dealbreaker? Mr. Zune-Man-Chu, you are welcome to shoot me an email!