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What is a geek?

What is a geek?

When you’re running a “niche interest” channel like the Sci-Fi Channel, you have two options for appealing to the mainstream. Either deny that your programmes are for geeks and sci-fi nerds – or expand the defintion of what is a geek.

The Sci-Fi Channel have done the latter, by commissioning research showing that 7m people in the UK are geeks. Except, of course, the nearest they come to defining a geek is as people with “passions including music, cooking, cars and gadgets.”

They also reveal that – gasp – women are geeks too. Well, a third of the geek population at least. Now if they redefined the passions to include clothes, shoes and wine, I’d guess that would jump up quite a bit!

The question is, what makes a geek? I’d always thought I didn’t particularly look like a geek – but that notion was shot down by a well-meaning person when I wondered why everyone assumed I was some kind of computer whizzkid. Besides the fact that I am one, of course.

Then I was in the canteen with H, berating the fact that I apparently looked like a geek partly because of the spectacles, and resolving to try and get contact lenses again. Then the magpie in my mind shifted, and I waxed lyrically on Doctor Who for about 10 seconds before H said “and you say you’re not a geek”. Damn.

The trouble being, of course, that true geeks would not consider me a geek. I can only code in HTML off the top of my head, and I haven’t written a computer program in 12 years. I’ve never watched a season of Buffy, Angel, 24 or The X-Files and I hate the idea of dressing up for conventions. But then your average co-worker can call me after asking the IT department for 20 minutes to convert an image, I do it in ten seconds, and she deems me a computer genius who can fix everything from Word to Windows. Grrr.

10 Comments

  • >Ah yes but female geeks are sexy.

    I beg to differ. Female geeks/nerds/dorks can be as unsexy as their male counterparts.

    btw, 9 out of 11 (including the sad Trekkie bonus question).

  • a few definitions as i got them in school…
    geek – generally interested in sciences, maths, etc. tends toward the sci-fi, fantasy realm of entertainment. a branch of “nerd”

    nerd – booksmart kids, but not necessarily into any specific topic. generally more interested in intellectual pursuits than the average kid.

    dork – a seperate function alltogether, but possibly overlapping the other two. generally defined by a profound lack of social skills that isn’t necessarily found in geeks & nerds.

    so, yes. take from it what you will.

  • Embrace your geekdom. Personally, not only am I techie, but I collect Wonder Woman memorabilia, watch/read sci-fi and collect archaic computer equipment. If I didn't embrace my geekiness, I'd have to shoot myself.

  • Also, I got 7 out of 11 on this quiz, just now. Further proof.

  • Hey! My link didn't work! Well, let me post it, and then I'll stop spamming. I promise.
    Quiz: http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/quiz/quiz….

  • Oh, I only got four of the eleven correct. Although I may not be a true sci-fi geek, I'm a geek of other things! =)

  • Ah yes but female geeks are sexy. All the narrow-minded focus that geeks are useful for, plus most of the social skills and emotional intelligence that being a woman grants you – mostly. All shall fall before them.

    Plus I only got 6/11 out of that quiz. I'm not even a real sci-fi geek. *sob*

  • Erm… I got 8/11. And I spotted a cockup in one of the questions.

  • 4/11, and most were total guesses. I think I can be a bit geeky about some things, but sci-fi isn't one of them!

  • 10/11

    I say embrace your inner geek 🙂

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