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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Google Glass Users Might Invade Molotov's Tonight

Posted By on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 5:44 PM

  • Sarah Slocum recounting her story for local news outlet KRON 4
  • KRON

Days after tech consultant-turned-evangelist Sarah Slocum proclaimed herself the first Google Glass hate crime victim in San Francisco, fellow Glass wearers vowed to seek revenge.

Their gambit: Go to the bar where Slocum says she was assaulted, and stage a sit-in -- or rather, a drink-in -- wearing Google Glass.

See also: Woman says she was attacked for wearing Glass at San Francisco dive bar.

The plan, originally hatched by startup founder Patrick Vitalone, hasn't gotten much traction -- yet. An employee who answered the phone at Molotov's, the lower Haight punk bar where Slocum says she was attacked on Saturday, says he hasn't seen any fancy tech eyewear at the bar today. If local tech geeks are staging some kind of protest, they've been awfully subdued.

Perhaps they've had a change of heart, owing to the flurry of jeers that Vitalone received on Twitter. "SMH at all of you," said Ben Lander, adding that crusaders like Slocum make him "embarrassed to tell people I work in tech."

Other detractors called for a counter-protest. "Sic 'em, San Fran," tweeted Devin Faraci.

Slocum's attack -- which she filmed on Glass, later delivering the footage to local news outlets -- incited hysteria on social media, in part because it seemed like another perfect parable of tech entitlement and and boiling outrage in San Francisco.

In this case, though, it was difficult to distinguish the good guy from the bad guy. Slocum presented herself as a helpless victim, alleging, in a Facebook post, that angry barflies hurled insults, and that one of them ran off with her Glass while another nabbed her purse, cellphone, and wallet. (She eventually persuaded the Glass thief to return her wearable gadgetry, though the other effects remain missing.)

But Slocum's critics say she provoked -- or at least escalated -- the attack herself, by filming bar patrons against their wishes. In so doing, she ensnared herself in a thorny debate about technology and privacy. Slocum's spirited tweetage and Facebook posts about the incident have only made her a more polarizing figure.

But if there's a silver lining for Molotov's, it's that a protest like this could bring in lots of business. After all, "drinking in unison to support Sarah Slocum" also counts as patronizing the establishment.

When you think about it, it might be the most punk rock thing that Google zealots have ever done.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.

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