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. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects