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.