Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What is a Geek Anyways?

There has be a lot of commenting on people's "geek cred" and if they are a "true geek" or just pandering for attention.  There has even been people challenging other about whether they are a geek in public forums.  This really got me thinking about the geek dilemma.  We throw that word around but what does geek really mean?

From the awesome Ibrahim Evsan 

Now, as geek is currently used by the general public, it refers to those awesome people who enjoy an aspect of pop culture. This area of pop culture is comprised of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, magic, wands, swords of metal or light, space, the final frontier, wii elbow, lands that are far, far away, heroes - super or gritty, villains - evil and likable, and cupcakes. This is not a complete list but should cover the general public's view of the term in question.

So I did the nerdiest thing I could do: I looked Geek up in the dictionary. Then I looked up Money Laundering, just for kicks.

Definition of GEEK
(copied and pasted directly from Webster's Dictionary Online)

1: a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake
2: a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked
3: an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity <computer geek>

So let's look at our options. Number 1 is definitely the oldest meaning of the word. I'm going to use my knowledge to make some educated guesses about assuming that we all aren't secretly wishing to bite off chicken/snake heads (if you are, huzzah for you), but that knocks one down.

As for number 2, it kinda fits the general public's image of geeks. Except....apparently it is cool now to be into "geeky things" so maybe this is another out of date. Don't get me wrong, it can apply but if this is how a person defines themself, it is kind of sad.

And now, it's time for number 3. In case you didn't guess, this is the big finish! So number 3 says an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity is a geek. Well, we already knew that from our general public description. There is one thing that sticks out though. Technology field is an example of a type of geek, not the definition of one. So we could replace technology with just about anything. Like [insert hobby here] geek. Finance, needlepoint, chicken heads, disney channel, history....the list can go on and on.

So, in the end, anyone that is an enthusiast or expert can be a geek. If someone challenges you, on creds or terminology, then send them to me. Unless, of course they want you to bite the head off a chicken.  Then you're on your own.

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