Thursday, May 14, 2009

RE: The Nerd vs. Geek Debate (and Why We Don't Need to Have It)

It blows my mind what I can find on the internet. Voices I have never heard, with opinions so similar to mine. The more I get into my own blog, the more I find people that make me use my brain meat and get me thinking about where I stand on different topics. Checking my Twitter feed today, I somehow found my way to the blog Hipster, Please! and within it was an incredibly long sermon about the Geek vs. Nerd debacle.

The author said:
"Geeks, we are told, are cool techies with eccentric passions, while nerds are awkward basement dwellers defined by their social failings."

I was always educated that the opposite was true. To me, nerds were the cool guys that happened to dig Star Wars, build their own PCs and play video games, whereas geeks lived in mommie's basement with highwater pants and Star Trek figurines. But as I have grown more into my nerd-dom and searched the interwebs for others like me (and realized that there was no need to look far) I realized that the terms are merely synonyms. To me, anybody can be a nerd/geek...they just have to be passionate about something.

Let's put it this way... Has someone ever asked you about something you are well educated about? In your response, did you find yourself growing so excited about your answer that you sidetracked into far more information than the person could ever understand? Did you talk so fast maybe you oversalivated or drooled a little? Okay, the last part may not be a deciding factor, but it could be a dead giveaway. You don't have to play D&D (though if you do I am infinitely jealous, because I have been wanting to learn for YEARS) or build computers or have LAN parties or even play video games to be a "nerd." The whole point of being one is just being who you are and not being ashamed of your passions.

So embrace yourself, and let people see that inner spaz you know just wants to jump out and scream "All Geminis to the Raspberry hats!" because if I have learned anything from being a nerd, it's that I am so far from being alone.

" Because, on some level, everyone is a nerd. Such is the power of our kind; such is the delightful flavor of our culture." -Hipster, Please!


  1. I am proud to be a nerdy geek! :)

  2. "To me, anybody can be a nerd/geek...they just have to be passionate about something."

    This is what I think wholeheartedly as well.

    I think the biggest defining thing for a nerd/geek is that you have a tendency towards the obsessive side. How many times have you casually learned about something you found interesting?

    For us nerds, it's not often. I know for myself when something really gets my interest I want to know everything about it, and then share that knowledge with everyone else who may be interested. I think that is what makes me a nerd/geek.

    "I was always educated that the opposite was true."

    I too have also heard contradictory explanations of which one means what, which I think proves exactly how baseless this argument is on a purely semantic level.

    PS. Awesome blog by the way! I found you via the geekdad twitter post and Hipster, Please!

  3. A great response to an amazing post by Z(i've told you to read his blog before), and while I do not care for the hierarchy that exsists in this culture pertaining to those words, I do not think that it is going to end soon. As hipsters(note: I do not actually like labeling people like cuts of meat but as it is often accepted I will use it here.) adapt the word "geek" and our habits with it, I fear that it will only get worse because it will become more socially acceptable and "hip" to be a geek, when in actuality its, to quote Shakespeare, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

  4. I'm with you, I always went with "nerd = cool, geek = basement," but whatevs.

    I get teased by my friends for being obsessive about my interests. If they introduce me to something I like, I'll wind up trying to learn a lot about it, then the next time we talk, I'll want to bond over what I've learned, thinking it's all things they know. It's usually not, since not everyone obsesses like that.

    So yeah, I'm labeled as the friend that, "does research," about things he likes.

  5. No, no. These are all way off the mark. I'm so gonna blog on this. It's being looked at from the wrong angle here, methinks.

  6. If we learned anything from the eighties, nerds have highwater pants and live in the basement. See: Revenge of the Nerds.

  7. @JupiterSinclair: You better, you're stuck that way like me XD

    Anthony: Thanks! And glad you enjoy my blog :)

    Jason: Haha I do that too. Having empty notebooks is horrible for me because I always end up making it a "research notebook" of some sort...whether it's recipes, lists, anything pretty's slightly embarrassing :/

    Dave: I was trying to remember why the title was so familiar! And now I can picture us at the Pantry station talking about MC Lars and podcasts. Oh, man. Apparently it was one of those things I had you write down that I never looked up. At least I found it eventually!

    Leo: I anxiously await your take on the topic.

    Jason Bosch: Touche.