Happy Geek Pride Day: The Survey

Happy Geek Pride Day! (Image: Ethan Gilsdorf; Design: Bret Kerr Design http://bretkerr.tumblr.com)
Happy Geek Pride Day! (Image: Ethan Gilsdorf; Design: Bret Kerr Design http://bretkerr.tumblr.com)

Happy Geek Pride Day!

The annual celebration of all things geek is today, Saturday, May 25. Time to hoist your freak flag high and proud, dust off those action figures and teach your children how to defend your home against orcs, siths, Klingons and other baddies.

Meanwhile, a recent Geek Pride Day Survey was conducted by Modis IT Staffing. And the findings are telling, and in some cases, chuckle-worthy — but not as hilarious geeks think they are.

In one of the survey’s findings, geeks think they are funnier than they really are. “Seventy-four percent of self-described geeks say they think geeks are funny,” the survey said, “compared to only 53 percent of non-­geeks.”

Really? You mean not so many non-geeks get my jokes? (Example: How many quarters does it take to play the new Lord of the Rings pinball game? None. It only takes Tolkiens.) OK, tell me something I don’t know.

Modis surveyed over 1,000 adult Americans (aged 18+) and asked a bunch of questions about their geeky predilections. Here’s one surprising finding: Apparently the majority of geeks do not “sneak their geek.” Modis found that 87 percent of the general population do not “hide their personal or embarrassing interests.”

“In fact, most Americans would NOT hide ‘geeky’ items if they were trying to impress someone,” the survey said. “Sixty-five percent of respondents say that if they were trying to impress someone, they would take pride in their ‘geek’ toys (i.e. stuffed animals and action figures), 90 percent say they would be proud of their books and comic books, and a surprising 65 percent would be proud of their superhero or cartoon character clothing, including pajamas.” These percentages include non geeks.

Wow. What about my Spider-Man Underoos? Geeks have come a long way.

Still, of those who do hide their nerdiness (13 percent of those surveyed), most keep that a secret from their neighbors (72 percent) and co-workers (70 percent). Fear of being outed as a geek to casual acquaintances remains an issue, apparently.

Overall, Americans’ perception of geeks continues to improve. Seventy-six percent of the general public considers geeks to be “hard working” and 58 percent say geeks are “confident.” Not only that, “more than half (58 percent) of Americans define geeks as extremely intelligent -­? a 13 percentage point increase since Modis’ Geek Pride Survey in 2011!” And “Sixty-eight percent (68 percent) of all respondents say they would date a geek!” (Note: those are the survey’s exclamation marks, not mine.)

In the Not-So-Shocking Department, a majority of geeks say they “Can’t live without technology” and are more likely to say this than those who do not self-identfy as geeks.

Geeks also do better as members of the workforce. Seventy percent of those who self-identify as geeks are employed, vs. 54 percent of non-geeks. Although those numbers don’t quite add up since the national unemployment rate hovers between 7 and 8 percent.

This next stat is also curious: 62 percent of geeks “define a ‘geek’ as someone who is influential, an association not necessarily shared by non?geeks (30 percent.)” Huh. I had no idea people thought I was influential, let alone had friends.

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And finally, despite relatively successful Geek Civil Rights advances in recent years, “some less complimentary associations for geeks” still exist. Namely, 69 percent of respondents (geeks and non-geeks alike) think of geeks as awkward, and only 34 percent think of geeks as “good looking.” On the plus side, 76 percent see geeks as “hard working”; 67 percent see them as “loyal” and 69 percent see them as “confident.”

And geeks get dates: “A majority say they would date a geek.”

The Modis Geek Pride Day 2013 Survey is “a fun way to joint the geek pride conversation every May 25th,” according to Jordan Drake, Senior Media Specialist at Kethcum, which works with Modis, an IT Staffing company. “To celebrate National Geek Pride Day, Modis has begun conducting these geek pride surveys as  and in effect raise their own geek banner.”

You geeks can drill down more deeply into the data here.

Now geek up, geek off and geek out!

Ethan Gilsdorf is a journalist, memoirist, critic, poet, teacher and 17th level geek. He wrote the award-winning travel memoir investigation Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Gilsdorf writes regularly for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Salon.com, BoingBoing.net, PsychologyToday.com, Washington Post and wired.com. He has published hundreds of articles, essays, op-eds and reviews on the arts, pop culture, gaming, geek culture and travel in dozens of other magazines, newspapers, websites and guidebooks worldwide. He has also published dozens of poems in literary magazines and anthologies. He is a core contributor to the blogs "GeekDad, "Geek Pride" on PsychologyToday.com, and Boston NPR affiliate WBUR's Cognoscenti blog. He is also a book and film critic for the Boston Globe, and is the film columnist for Art New England. He and author Noble Smith geek out and wax nostalgic about D&D and other nerdy pop culture relics at Dungeons & Dorkwards. He is a lover of ELO and a hater of littering. Sometimes he wears a tunic and chainmail, or these grampy pants. More info fantasyfreaksbook.com or follow on Facebook fantasyfreaksbook