So, it is widely believed that the recent ascendancy of "so" began in Silicon Valley. The journalist Michael Lewis picked it up when researching his 1999 book The New New Thing: "When a computer programmer answers a question," he wrote, "he often begins with the word 'so.'" Microsoft employees have long argued that the "so" boom began with them."So" Pushes to the Head of the Line
This logical tinge to "so" has followed it out of software. Starting a sentence with "so" uses the whiff of logic to relay authority. Where "well" vacillates, "so" declaims.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.