How To Classify a Geek

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So, you want to classify that nerdy kid that sits next to you in class? Perhaps you want to figure out that guy that works at the computer store.  Maybe you wish to learn more about yourself. You’ve come to the right place!

Missing Image Alert!
See footnotes for differences between Nerds and Geeks.

The term geek is thrown around quite a bit, often in a derogatory manner. I thought it would be nice to disperse some of the confusion surrounding this term and bring to light some of the smaller nuances and discrepancies of its use. This term is actually quite inclusive and has many subsets. Let’s take a look at some of the groups…

The Common Geek:
Often thought of in a negative light, the common perception is that this person will be male, scrawny, glasses-sporting, and socially awkward. Unfortunately, this stereotype is often correct. Now, before we jump to the conclusion that all common geeks are this way, let me state that there are exceptions. The only actual requirement for being a common geek is a love for some type of technology. Therefore, many doctors, scientists, engineers, and even pilots are geeks.

The Gamer:
Gamers tend to come in two flavors. First, there are the loud, obnoxious, and socially awkward types. Then, there are the quiet, reclusive, and socially awkward types. Whilst the label “Socially Awkward” is here applied, it must be noted that many gamers are avid socializers. Their preferred method of human interaction is via LAN parties, the Internet, and, of course, gaming chat interfaces. Gamers will love all things shiny. They love pretty graphics, fast computers, and new releases. Gamers love to have the best, latest, and newest of everything. Everything in life is usually assigned a priority, much like in an RPG (Role Playing Game.) Get food +5, go outside for air +1, complete three more quests in Skyrim +23. Often, gamers will not care as much about the hardware of their computer as its performance in certain games.

The Computer Geek:
Guilty as charged. The computer geek is a lover of all things electronic. Computer parts, microcontrollers, solder guns, LEDs, and Potentiometers, there is nothing that runs on batteries that a computer geek can resist tinkering with. Or destroying…The computer geek will often have at least two computers–one of which he built himself. He doesn’t care as much about performance as he does about customization. Everything is custom, from the UI (User Interface) to the mousepad.

Click on the image to view more awesome art by the geek *cough* artist that drew this. 😀

The Innocent Geek:
This person is truly a unique and interesting individual. The innocent geek seldom realizes his true level of geekiness; if he does, he just doesn’t care. This person will flaunt his knowledge, talents, and geekiness for the whole world to see–not because he is vain, but merely because he doesn’t think it’s abnormal to know the firing-rate and name of every blaster used in Star Wars. The innocent geek can be a great companion, especially when he is willing to learn and try new things. Hey… wanna try levitating granite? It’s fun!

The Artsy Geek:
This geek is one of the most socially acceptable of the geek family. Often, the geekiness of the person is not even known until the area of infection is broached in conversation. The art geek can focus on anything, but tends to fixate on the tools just as much as the medium. If it is photography, the geek will love all things camera. Be it art, the geek will be constantly focusing on new styles painting or the newest Wacom tablet. Here the concentrations begin to converge and overlap, as is often the case. See Computer Geek. If the area of interest is literature, be warned! Once a conversation is started upon Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, the clock may seem to move much slower than is normally its habit.

The Female Geek:
A bit more rare, these are the most unique of the lot. The female Geek will often be socially shy, but not awkward unless she desires to be. Please note, any of the above geeks can be female, it is just more common for the female to stand apart from her male counterpart. The female Geek is often characterized by her vast knowledge of fictional lands or works. Complete knowledge of the characters and plot of Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, or Lord of the Rings is not uncommon. Often, the female geek will be fluent in a fictional language–most commonly Tolkienian Elvish or Dwarvish.

That covers most of the main types of geeks. As I stated in the common geek explanation, anyone with an overt love for anything can become a geek in that area. Bicycle geek, donut geek, music geek, lawn mower geek, pop tart geek… I digress. Now you know what to look for. Do you know any geeks?

Take Care,
~XK

Disclaimer and other assorted footnotes:
Perhaps a quick explanation of the difference between a Geek and a Nerd is in order. Actually, this has been the topic of much debate, and I merely used the safest assumptions for the guide given above. Hover your mouse over the terms Nerd and Geek to get an idea of the definitions of each, as given by the Oxford English Dictionary. As seen from the definitions, there is little difference in the terms, and therefore only cultural references to distinguish the two. it appears that nerd can formally refer to an expert in a field, but culturally, nerd tends to be a more derogatory term directed at science, math, and computer techies.
Perhaps a clarification of the term “socially awkward” is in order. Often, it is expected that people interact with each other via verbal communication. Unfortunately, there are those who have trouble expressing themselves in a way that matches the normal conventions and expectations. Usually, it is the topic or manner in which the conversation is held, but it is also sometimes merely that the person who is awkward does not want to hold a conversation. Thus, socially awkward is the inability to, lack of desire to, or ineptitude in speaking with others in normal topics and conversations. No! I don’t want 8 Pop Tarts… I want 12, I want 12 of them! Click here if you have no idea…

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11 thoughts on “How To Classify a Geek

    nothingprofound said:
    20 December , 2011 at 09:37

    Chris, thanks for this practicum on the fascinating world of geekdom. Always a pleasure to partake of your unique brand of wit. fl.

    Rachel Allison said:
    21 December , 2011 at 09:00

    Huh…. I will not tell you what I classify as. lol I blame it all on my geeky brother.

    psachno said:
    25 December , 2011 at 23:36

    First look for me–and really impressive! Thanks for the tutorial. 😀

      xanthuskidd responded:
      26 December , 2011 at 00:00

      Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

    psachno said:
    26 December , 2011 at 00:02

    I LOVE the Oscar Wilde quote–very cool!

      xanthuskidd responded:
      26 December , 2011 at 14:37

      Yes! I usually don’t agree with his beliefs, but he has some awesome quotes!

    Janene Murphy said:
    28 December , 2011 at 22:50

    My kids are geeks (computer, gamer, female) — my hubbie is, too, and I sure love them all. I wonder what all this says about me. Dare I call myself a geek, too? Perhaps. 😉

      xanthuskidd responded:
      4 January , 2012 at 14:06

      Feel free to call yourself whatever you wish! 🙂 Geeks make the world go round, people should love them.

    tcolvinMI said:
    11 January , 2012 at 21:20

    I would certainly classify myself as the “computer geek”. Always had a passion for technology and was always (and still am) tinkering with something. These days, I would say that most of my free time and energy is dedicated to the site. I enjoy it a lot though and never hide my geekiness.

    Justin said:
    12 March , 2012 at 16:14

    Umm… I think I’m a female geek… Is that a problem? haha jk
    On the slightly more serious, but no too much so, side, it seems that at this rate, soon everyone will be a geek. Which, as Dash said, “Is another way of saying no one is.” Then we’ll have to come up with another label to distinguish ourselves from “lesser humans.”

    Jeremiah said:
    13 March , 2012 at 07:26

    Two thumbs up for the waffle video reference!!

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