One-Fifth Of Americans Are Proud To Be Geeks

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I think people underestimate their geekiness/nerdiness. Waaay more than 20% of the population enjoys entertainment and activities that would be identified as geeky/nerdy. The difference is how hardcore a geek/nerd you are.

I identify as enjoying geeky things (a lot of them at that) and occasionally getting very nerdy (arguing who'd win in a battle between different fictional universes). I'd argue that a lot of sports fans get pretty nerdy about it when they wouldn't consider such things as making them a nerd, such as large scale memorisation of stats, fantasy match-ups, and making greatest ever lists

We're also at a point where a lot of tech that used to be seen as geek territory has entered the mainstream: computers, the internet (facebook especially), smartphones, etc. That's never going to slip into being seen as nerdy in the way it once was, just specific uses of/or obsessions with it.

Earnest Cavalli:

ace_of_something:
I lot of hipsters, particularly females, identify themselves as geeks or nerds because they used to play Legend of Zelda or like watching Glee. They never know the pain of losing a date just because you said "why yes I do play D&D" or being barraged in dodgeball for your starfleet t-shirt...

Uh, I'm a professional blogger who literally earns his entire living from writing about games, technology and geek culture, and I've never known "the pain of losing a date just because you said "why yes I do play D&D" or being barraged in dodgeball for your starfleet t-shirt."

It may have something to do with the fact that my fashion sense prevents me from going anywhere near Star Trek-themed clothing, or the fact that I'm physically appealing to the opposite sex -- OR it might have something to do with the fact that you seem to be linking the term "geek" to poor social skills and an inability to present one's self to possible mates without immediately dropping the "I love things that are stereotypically repugnant to members of your gender" line.

I'm not picking on you specifically Ace, but I think it's crucial that we not define geek as "someone who sucks at getting dates." That's as harsh a stereotype as anything the captain of your high school's football team might have thrown at you.

(Post script: I was also a starting Defensive End on a #1-ranked football team and enjoyed the hell out of high school, so either my career path isn't an indicator of geekiness (it totally is), or your view of "geek" is insultingly narrow.)

I see geek and nerd as two different things. The broader term of 'likes pop-culturey things' being Nerd. Geek meaning a social pariah thanks to their interests.

I grew up in a small town. A town so small the football team which I was defensive tackle didn't get to play one year. I was picked on for my interests, D&D (which I played with 2 other people), punk rock, and video games. But only slightly because I was one of the tallest kids at the school. I also had not one but two dates to the prom. (There was about 1.5 girls for every boy in the school) The tallest were my older brothers.

The big picture is in MANY small towns, rural areas, and the like enjoying anything that isn't typical brands you as an outsider and they will let you know. Especially in the mid 90's when I came of age when not every single house had a computer in it let alone the internet. So having a fanatical devotion to something was a lot more work than it is today. I couldn't just look up a wiki article to know the names of the background characters in star wars. I had to buy a book, read magazines, learn from action figures. I had to work for it.

The way I was picked on was just by being 'excluded' in certain activities rather than being actively teased. Keep in mind my graduating class had like 23 people so being excluded is being excluded by the WHOLE county. (Literally there was at the time, 1 person for every 5 square miles in that county)

It wasn't until I moved to the big city my senior year, without my parents, that I found other people like me, college was even better, as an adult it's not even a concern.
Simply by being in a place with larger population allowed for less exclusion.

So yeah, I still think of it that way. Because it's still true in a lot of places. I know my nephew who is 14 and in a town that's twice as big as the one I lived in is experiencing a lot of the problems I did, only far worse, just for liking the things he does. It's tough living in the red states.

I don't mean to prattle on. I could probably fill pages on how being a geek/nerd still comes up.

So if 'geek chic' is indeed a thing i feel like you gotta EARN it thru hardship, because I and many I know sure as hell had to.

Geeks populate the percentage of America that's smart.

I wear the badge on this forum. Glad to be on a statistic. lol

redisforever:
Wait, only one fifth?

Bleh, what about Canada? Nothing else for us to do but hunt. Without guns, of course.

Without gun ? We have about 1 gun for every 3 person, it just that our population tend to use them less on each other then the US and that firearm, available to public, tend more toward hunting, about 95% are rifle or shotgun.

The only thing I have a problem with is the idea that we can't do social situations. Lies! Lies and slander!

Drexlor:
I was a geek and a nerd long before they were cool.

After that sentence you are now a hipster.

Geek originally meant someone in a circus side-show who bit the heads off animals, and then possibly ate it.

the more you know...

Clockwork Scarecrow.:

Drexlor:
I was a geek and a nerd long before they were cool.

After that sentence you are now a hipster.

I was just thinking the same xD

Drexlor:
I was a geek and a nerd long before they were cool.

What! Nerd is evolving.

Congratulations, nerd evolved into hipster.

Nope, Americans are just more likely to shout and rave about these things.

What does that make the remaining 80% of Americans?
btw I hate nerds but I share the same values as geeks. There is a big social difference.

I always thought of it thisnway:

Geeks are people who tend to obsess over at least one subject, be it music, movies, tv, video games, pen and paper games, sports, etc. However they are able to socialize with people outside those interests and don't have to retreat to those interests in order to converse.

Nerds on the other hand can really only converse on those obsessions they have with any real show of passion. You take them out of that comfort zone and suddenly they feel very self-conscious and sometimes even a little frustrated that they have nothing to contribute to the conversation. You let them talk about what they really like and they can go on for hours (whether you want them to or not).

I know it seems like it's a little too simple but I've seen this on multiple occasions and it always comes out the same.

1 out of 5? They are letting anyone in nowadays aren´t they?

I've not met too many people who go out of their way to wear the badge of geek/nerd without having something else to back it up, be it an appropriate obsession with something unusual or a love for the hard sciences. However, so much of what is now mainstream activity used to be the province of the 'computer nerd' culture. Using computers at all used to be a strange and unusual thing, maybe something you did for work but man, you mean you have a computer at home and you spend hours calling other people's computers? What a nerd!

Now we can't pry people away from Facebook because it's become both accessible and in furtherance of everyone's favorite pasttime, stroking their own egos. The same goes for video gaming in general, as soon as it could be used in the comfort of one's own home in easily digestible and approchable formats for engaging in everyone's second favorite pasttime, dominating and humiliating one's friends in a contest of skill.

Some people might have taken refuge in a particular hobby because it gave them a sense of identity, and when that's threatened by everyone also engaging in your hobby, which is now as mainstream as watching TV or going to the movies, you lose what you had thought was a unique trait to yourself. That's less of an issue of the hobby itself and more about the person in particular using something as a crutch, devoting an excessive amount of time to a particular pursuit to attempt to make up for a lack of depth elsewhere. I wouldn't put all geeks or nerds into that category, even if some individuals so named would fit.

But, all is not lost. Might I suggest tabletop wargaming, or old fashioned pen and paper roleplaying, if you're looking for something you can wrap yourself up in that will still get you strange looks and slow nods. Believe me, I know!

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