I accept that I am a geek, heck my blog name declares it to be so. What I don’t understand is why many others can’t. My family and most of my friends make it sound like I should be ashamed of my social grouping. But I am not. Thankfully I have some awesome friends who do accept me for what I am.
I know fellow geeks (and nerds) who are made to feel that the fact they have obsessions that are not reported in the gossip columns or on trashy TV they are somehow lesser. I know the sons of Feanor, how is this different from knowing the names of the children of a z-list celebrity? I read fantasy novels, they read about their fantasy Mr Right.
Being a geek is only a matter of taste. There are computer, sci fi, gaming, movie, music, and sports geeks. Geeks tend to only spend time with others of a similar mindset. Just because they don’t ‘go out’ doesn’t mean they aren’t as social.
Some people look horrified when I label myself as a geek, it’s as though I have announced that I have some rare and terrible disease. My symptoms appear to be nothing more than taking a liking to certain facets of pop culture, I can’t see how I am hurting anyone.
The hardest part about being a geek is meeting other geeks. Especially those of the opposite gender. Most geeks want to go out with other geeks, but the issue is that geeks don’t go out. So if you do go out the person you are likely to meet will not be a geek and unlikely to interest you. Knowing this you stay in. As do all the other geeks. So how do you meet others like you?
The BBC website had an article asking whether geek and nerd were now positive terms, well what exactly is a geek? It would be very easy at this point to reach for a dictionary. Well not physically, I can see it on the bookshelf but it’s out of reach…and I’m comfy. I suppose I could check the dictionary app on my iPod, or google it from the widget on my android phone. I could even just check it on the internet on my Linuxed netbook that I am typing this on. Does using freeware vector software to make an avatar count as geeky?
Hmmm. That does give a good idea of what a geek is, or at least how we are perceived by non-geeks. To them we are the techy ones, all computers and calculators. There is often some truth in that, technology is synonymous with geekdom, but there is often much more to it than that.
Geek culture is primarily a knowledge culture. We pride ourselves on our grasp of our chosen subjects, whether it be science, technology, Star Trek, music, books or films; to name a few. There are as many sub-cultures as there are interests in the world.
A computer geek and a sports geek may be physically and socially opposed, but they both share an in-depth knowledge of their respective fields. Knowing Pi to 30 numbers is not really that different from being able to name every World Cup winner. A geek is an information repository made flesh. A geek is seen as someone with an in depth knowledge of a field of interest that comes to dominate their life, so someone who clears their diary to watch a soap opera or some reality TV is just another kind of geek.
At this point it’s worth clarifying a common misconception, What is the difference between a geek and a nerd?
Social skills. I operate on a perfectly normal social level, I can hold conversation with all the ‘cool’ kids and not seem out of place. It’s the ability to adapt to different environments that prevents me slipping down the hierarchy that would see me in the corner with the Matheletes (not that there’s anything wrong with them, if I had been in an American high school I may have found myself on the team in some kind of Lindsay-Lohan-before-the-Fall-scenario).
A geek is a nerd with some social ability, we can talk to the general populace even to geeks with other passions. Geeks may have various fields of interest, for example some of mine include:
- Sci Fi
- Modern fantasy
- Evolutionary Biology
- Formula 1
- Orchestral music
The biggest issue is whereabouts in the world you are as in some places the definitions flip and mean the opposite. If you live in America it is the opposite way around where nerd is the badge of honour and geek is the derogative but let’s just stick with geek here for I live in the UK. Plus if I called this site Nerd Ergo Sum I would have ended up with NES as an acronym and how geeky is that!