What is a Geek? What is a Nerd?

Geek!This is Barbara’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Maybe it’s just me, but I believe there are many differences between the expression and characteristics of a “Geek” and a “Nerd”. Obviously, the typical nerd does not compare to the status of a geek today – but what are they?

Have nerds just evolved over the past decade or have we merely accepted their existence? Has the “Revenge of the Nerds” era reached its burial grounds or have they simply diversified? Are the nerds emerging from the depths of “yuck” into the swans of the future – or were they always that way and we just didn’t see it? One thing’s for sure – they don’t look like they used to anymore, nor do they fit the personalities of what was once typical for a nerd (gross, disgusting, and in a field of their own).

I began to ponder these questions. I jotted down the obvious (characteristics, endeavors, etc.) and came up with an amusing acronym for both of them in order to do some clarification. Note that this isn’t in any way the true acronym, but in the name of the HP Magic Giveaway, please humor me a little:

A GEEK has {Great Expectations for Exceeding Keenness} and a NERD displays {Nothing Extraordinary Regarding Dynamics}.

Sounds simple enough, right? They’re both smart, but a “geek” exceeds the expectations of everyone and is eminent, while a nerd is anything but. The “nerd” lacks any sense of power between the two groups (geeks and nerds) and is anything but extraordinary.

Way back when, a nerd was an embarrassment to society, as they portrayed the typical “yuk” appearance and weren’t exactly the model citizen. Sure, they were smarter than the rest of us, but did anyone really want to be classified as such? I mean, really! They carried their pocket calculator and dressed in the distinctive plain white “button up” T and wore those wretched high water pants as if they were preparing for a major flood. Oh, and we mustn’t forget that horrible tape around their glamorous eye wear. They were such a mockery to the rest of us…

Then, something strange began to happen. The nerds were transitioning, like an alien invasion across the world. Suddenly, they were hidden among us. Nerds were evolving into something more, something acceptable. They became what we now know as the “GEEKS”. GEEKS were receiving followers from across the waters. They were a new world phenomenon – they could look great AND be smart. Now, rather than turning our heads with shame at them, we absorb what they have to say, we flock at their every whim, we trifle at their intelligence with awe and we go crazy with their appearances (sexy / hot).

So, the question is: what is a GEEK? What is a NERD? As a society, are we just jealous – because now, not only do they (the GEEKS) have the smarts, but they have acquired the looks of the “elite” as well? I mean, it’s not like they’ve altered the chemical balance of their being… right?

12 thoughts on “What is a Geek? What is a Nerd?”

  1. I always thought the terms nerd and geek ment

    Nerd – Good knowleage with general subjects

    Geek – Great knowleage with computers

    I always find myself as a geek, used to be called nerd at school but geek was never really said much. In college i was called a geek but i always accepted it, i knew i was a geek

    If someone called me a geek i liked it because they didnt mean it offencively (lets hope) they knew i was really good with computers so if i explained something too techincal i get called a geek…..even a geek called me a geek, does that mean im twice the geek?

  2. Reads like an article desperate to try and come up with a relevant topic, but not written very well, nor does it really make any sense.

  3. Intelligence has always been attractive, but we lived in a world where intelligence about math and technology wasn’t. Now that tech is in every aspect of our lives, nerds/geeks are socially acceptable groups partly because there are so many of us. Sitting in front of the computer and learning a new programming language or developing a useful application is so addicting because of the sense of accomplishment you feel. This can lead to more time in front of the terminal and less time out with friends. Today’s geek has the mobile computer and the cloud to aid in moving around. Also a few good role models like Chris and Kevin helped.

  4. Thanks for this great article! Amazing job on defining the line between the nerd and the geek.

    Everybody calls me a nerd. And it makes me mad.

    So, thanks for pointing this out!

  5. I have called people nerds and geeks and have been called the same by others and never thought of myself as either one.
    May be there are no such animals but only what we percieve the other as.
    In this era of P.C. we still see others as geeks or nerds but thats okay because we are all geeks or nerds at times even if we dont know it. For instance what kind of geek or nerd would spend so much time on this topic.
    We all did.

  6. I personally wish that I would be even considered to be a geek or nerd..maybe than I could figure a way to make more money..good job barbara

  7. Thanks for the good article.

    I’ve always been different from the rest of the crowd. It bothered me at times. But, most of the time, I was glad to have my own personality and my own visions.

    I never really put a name to my experience till I watched the Nerd movies when I was in my 40s. Then I was proud to say “I’m a Nerd.”

    Oh, but wait, I’m a Geek too.

    Oh, and that image of the Nerds with the white shirts is a stereotype.

    I hate white shirts, and never carried a calculator in my pocket. I gave up pocket protectors in the 1960s or 1970s.

    When I was in high school, I didn’t always have the best clothes, but I never wore “waders” pants either.

  8. hmmm. thanks guys. Babara says it all. call me a geek, am never gonna frown, call me a nerd, am never gonna pull a face. whatever i am is what i am and what i am is what makes me.

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