Not only is today [Wednesday, when this article was first published] Towel Day (in honour of Douglas Adams), Star Wars Day (A New Hope was first released on this day back in ’77), and the Glorious 25 May (for Pratchett fans), but it is also the 6th Annual ‘Geek Pride Day‘ and if a recent survey by the Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of IT recruitment specialist Modis is to be believed, the Geeks are set to take over the world*. According to their telephone survey of 1000 American adults, 57% now believe the term ‘Geek’ to be a compliment, citing criteria such as being extremely intelligent, reliable sources for technology advice and being first adopters of new technology as their reasoning.
Almost a fifth of the respondents self-identified as Geeks, nearly twice as many Americans would prefer to be called a “Geek” as opposed to a “Jock” and, sorry all you Nerds out there, but more of us are comfortable being labeled a Geek than a Nerd. One of the biggest finding of the survey is that 82% of the respondents feel that it is more acceptable to be a geek today than it was 15 years ago.
The geeks are running multi-billion dollar technology companies, and the top jobs for geeks according to the survey are apparently video game designer (65%), technology engineer (50%) and professional blogger (37%) Woo! Overall 65% of Americans think that everyone is a geek about something. On the downside though, 50% still think we’re ‘socially awkward’ whatever that means.
So it seems that we are going mainstream now. Our beloved comic books fuel the Summer movie blockbusters. Our fantasy novels are being turned into successful TV shows. Our hobbies are getting more and more attention with events like the recent Maker Faire and the plethora of -cons around. It seems that ‘regular’ people are no longer happy with just a phone to call their friends on, now every Thomas, Richard and Harold wants an iPhone or some flavor of Android. Even MTV has a geek section now, in fact our own Matt Morgan writes for them too.
Personally I hope this mainstream acceptance doesn’t go too far – I like being the ‘different’ one. I remember when I was a teenager rejecting to shallow world of pop music and turning to the UKs upcoming ‘indie’ scene – the Punk of my generation. Here I found like minded friends who favoured the craftsmanship of making and playing real music as opposed to manufactured pretty boys/girls miming to their happy ditties. These people were also the D&D playing crowd at my school – coincidence? But, slowly, we found our favourite bands nudging their way into the charts, their faces gracing the cover of ‘Smash Hits‘ – not just the NME, and appearances on Top of the Pops came soon after.
So we searched out the next new thing. For me that turned out to be Electronica of all types and the emerging festival/club/DJ culture. But even that went mainstream with the arrival of the Superstar DJs and the clubs of Ibiza, the music being watered-down and filtering back into the charts. The fesitvals became so huge that you now have to buy your tickets up to a year in advance and remortgage your house to be able to afford one. All of this caused me to seek out more and more niche sub-genres. Now I’m starting to sound more like a Hipster than a Geek. ‘Hipster’, by the way, falls just between ‘Nerd’ and ‘Jock’ in the ‘Would you be comfortable being called a…’ question in the survey with 23%!
So where do we go next? Steampunk? Personally, I don’t really get the whole Steampunk thing so that’s out for me. Nerdcore? Never really been a huge fan of Hip-Hop, so probably not.
What will happen when the Geeks inherit the Earth? I like being a geek and I’m getting too old now to seek out a new sub-strata of society to attach myself to!
[This article, by Nathan Barry, was originally published on Wednesday. Please leave any comments you may have on the original.]