Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Geeks, Nerds, and Xs, Oh My!

It came as a bit of a surprise really.

"You're a geek" she said.


"It's okay, really. You are."

I was so surprised I honestly didn't have anything else to add but "okay, I guess." This gave me pondering material as I drove home. Comfortable with technology I am indeed. Knowledgeable enough to find my way around and ask good questions, no doubt. But a geek? No. There are people far more knowledgeable and enthusiastic about technology (which I totally respect) than I.

Leveraging technology is what I need to do to support the clients I work with; that is a given. Teaching certain aspects for process comprehension is another. From the perspective of someone who hasn't related most technology to a specific business purpose, I understand where some technology can seem from outer space for some people.

At the last Geek Dinner London (www.twitter.com/#gdldn) @jvyoung kindly shed some light on geek-dom for the social media enthusiast-non-geeks attending (aka: me and two others).

A Geek - someone who enjoys technology and likes the gadgets and wizardry, has social skills and thus can drink beer and discuss it without any mishaps.

A Nerd - someone who stays in their basement, revels in the bits and bites and can't be social without medication or pant-wetting.

This information was timely of course since I became aware of the perception my peers had of what I do. I'm looking for a little help with the term though...here's my definition:

NeedHelpWithACoolTermX - someone who leverages technology, learns from and hangs with the geeks and bridges those who need to be brought up to speed.

My cell phone (the one I was reluctant to use at #gdldn due to its' vintage) knocked me out of my quandry and was the perfect reminder that I am not a geek but rather something in between.

Help a gal out here...would love some amo for the next time I hear those words again.



Jessica Wiemann said...

Your definition of Geeks/Nerds is, in my mind, incorrect.

Nerds are people interested in a variety of nerdy pursuits. They usually work in the IT industry, and have a huge range of fascinations. From science to math to music to technology, a nerd is generally a well-rounded, intelligent type. Nerds are people that watch the Science channel and read non-fiction, know how to build their own computer, re-program their cellphone and torrent pretty much anything they want.

A geek is a much more single-minded pursuit. Geeks are people that are really in to a single aspect of nerd culture: Anime, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc. These are the people that can list every episode of Naruto in chronological order, but ask them to build your computer: No idea. They frequent message boards and are the people that have no idea what the difference between a SATA and IDE cable is.


Has a pretty good breakdown in the third or fourth post. Being a nerd is a positive thing, being a geek.. not so much.

Forrest said...

How about this title: 'Wizard'

Nimble One said...

Thank you for the feedback Jessica; this is all new to me and since I know nothing about either technical references I'm thinking, overall, your comment supports my case!

Thanks for the dictionary link too!


Nimble One said...

Hey Forrest, thanks for the idea...that would take being nimble to a brand new level!


Erica said...

Don't worry about vintage cell phones...I think I may have been the only one there without any electronic device whatsoever!

Personally I think that the lines between nerds and geeks (however you choose to define them) are blurring daily. It's your choice as to where you draw them!

As for your new term...hmm...

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jessica's definition of Geek/Nerd. People tend to be [subject] geeks whereas ‘nerd’ is more of a general term like egghead.

That said, I think it's fair to say that aside from death and pregnancy, everything is on a continuum. To some people being able to program a VCR makes you a tech whiz - to others it's child's play.

I wouldn't worry about disputing or embracing labels. To some people you'll be a geek, to others you'll be completely un-geeky...for most people you'll be somewhere in between :)

Nimble One said...

Erica, I like the idea of a "plug-and-play" assistant in a business sense so that might work! USBVA? Thanks for commenting.


Nimble One said...

Thanks for the encouragement & I'm over it now...you're right, the VCR reference put it all into perspective!