To help us navigate this strange new world, AOL had their Answer Man, who just happened to be Kevin Savetz. I am pretty certain that I looked at his FAQ once or twice, and may have even e-mailed him with a question as well. His position as the Answer Man is revealed about three-quarters of the way into the book, and I found it fascinating. Like the famous “You’ve got mail” voice, the world of AOL was part and parcel of the initial online experience for millions of people.
It turns out that Savetz sort of stumbled into this gig, as an outgrowth of his work as a freelance journalist. He graduated college as a journalism major, but received some of his best advice outside of school. Like so many of us, in all of his writing courses, Savetz was never given the “secret” to effective writing. It is very simple, yet for some reason, teachers seem to be extremely reluctant in revealing it. The secret is to find your own voice. When it comes to explaining technical issues (or even writing a book review), talk to your readers as if you are having a conversation with a friend.
Things have changed considerably in Savetz's life over the years, but his position as the Answer Man must still look good on his resume. He has continued working in the computer industry by publishing books, and he has launched a number of websites.
I found Terrible Nerd to be an interesting and highly entertaining read. While his story differs considerably from my own, I still found plenty of points I could relate to, which I imagine many others will as well. The book is available through various outlets, including (naturally enough), Savetz Publishing.