Geek Definition: A Hypothesis

Ive never made a thread before, as I wanted to start out with a good one. I realized that this one might have promise.

Me and a few friends in College got into a conversation about the word Geek. Essentially, we realized that games are generally associated with being a geek, however there was a host of other things that get added to the mix as well. Computer knowledge, general bookish intelligence, and there are even band geeks, music geeks, theater geeks, etc. We spent a while trying to figure out the overarching theme to all these varieties of geeks. What we came up with is this.

Firstly, humans understand there world through metaphors. Not the literary device, but rather the idea that one thing, concept or idea can represent another thing, concept or idea, and this acts as an aid to understanding. ("Metaphors We Live By" by Lakoff and Johnson goes into great detail about this, if this idea sounds like your cup of tea). The chief characteristic of a Geek is that they focus on an understanding and interaction with these metaphors, created by peoples intellect, above understanding of the thing itself. Essentially, a geek focuses on rules and systems that represent a thing, rather then the thing itself. We found that this hypothesis explained a lot about peoples use of the word Geek. For example...

A person who is very bookish, and gets straight A's, is a Geek because they understand the systems of rules that they teach in school. Math, Science, and Computer related things are perhaps the Geekiest of all because they consist entirely of rules that people have applied to reality, as a metaphor to aid in understanding. A class like Shop class involves learning how to make or do a physical thing itself.

A Sports fan cheers for there team, or plays the sport, and knows how to do the sport itself. A Sports Geek, however, memorizes statistics and data that we apply to sports as an aid to understanding.

A Music fan loves and listens to music itself, owns the music itself, or can play the music itself. A music geek understands the classification of the music, and all the other data that we use as a way of understanding music as a whole.

Anime is usually considered Geeky. Possibly because anime uses picture, created by people, to represent real events, as opposed to useing real life itself?

Fantasy and Science Fiction are the Geeky genres. The biggest characteristic of Fantasy and Science Fiction is that it uses fictional worlds as a metaphor to reflect reality.

Gaming is generally the biggest sign of being a dork. What in a humans life is more exemplary of useing rules and metaphors more then understanding a thing itself then in a game?

So what do people think. Are we right? Do we have a good start to an overarching theory? Is there a glaring flaw? Or have I failed in makeing my (admittedly murky) hypothesis clear?

Maybe geeks/nerds are a culture. Consisting of many sub-cultures.(gamers,hackers etc)

I think your thread gets geeks and nerds confused and put together. Here is how i would define them:

Geek = someone who is obsessed a particular type of activity and not generally considered to be cool and rarely popular

Nerd = gamer

Nerds are smart, geeks are knowledgeable.

DalekJaas:
I think your thread gets geeks and nerds confused and put together. Here is how i would define them:

Geek = someone who is obsessed a particular type of activity and not generally considered to be cool and rarely popular

Nerd = gamer

You've gotten that quite backwards. Not all gamers are nerds, and not all nerds are gamers.

In fact I've yet to meet an actual nerdy gamer.

Alright, so I'm pretty sure that everyone has a different definition of Geek, Nerd, and Dork. And no one is going to be able to agree on what the difference between the 3 are. I'm reminded of the epic battle I used to have over the debate over whether that kind of ice cream you get in the summer that's not as hard as normal ice cream is called a Creemee, or a Soft Serve. (I probably just derailed my own thread, but whatever.) Anyways, what I'm saying is that regardless of whether you call it Nerd, Dork, or Geek, or where you place the distinction, they all contain a common theme, a thread that ties them all together at its base. My hypothesis is an attempt to theorize what that thread is.

Xanadu84:
Alright, so I'm pretty sure that everyone has a different definition of Geek, Nerd, and Dork. And no one is going to be able to agree on what the difference between the 3 are. I'm reminded of the epic battle I used to have over the debate over whether that kind of ice cream you get in the summer that's not as hard as normal ice cream is called a Creemee, or a Soft Serve. (I probably just derailed my own thread, but whatever.) Anyways, what I'm saying is that regardless of whether you call it Nerd, Dork, or Geek, or where you place the distinction, they all contain a common theme, a thread that ties them all together at its base. My hypothesis is an attempt to theorize what that thread is.

It looked like this didn't it: http://uploads.ungrounded.net/285000/285267_ultimateshowdown.swf

A geek is someone who bites the heads off chickens at carnivals, and a Dork is a whale penis...

OED; Geek:
1. slang (chiefly U.S.). a. orig. Eng. regional (north.). A person, a fellow, esp. one who is regarded as foolish, offensive, worthless, etc.

b. Freq. depreciative. An overly diligent, unsociable student; any unsociable person obsessively devoted to a particular pursuit (usually specified in a preceding attrib. noun). Cf. NERD n.

c. spec. A person who is extremely devoted to and knowledgeable about computers or related technology.
In this sense, esp. when as a self-designation, not necessarily depreciative.

2. U.S. slang. A performer at a carnival or circus whose show consists of bizarre or grotesque acts, such as biting the head off a live animal.

OED; Nerd:
An insignificant, foolish, or socially inept person; a person who is boringly conventional or studious. Now also: spec. a person who pursues an unfashionable or highly technical interest with obsessive or exclusive dedication.

OED; Dork:
1. The penis.

2. A foolish or stupid person; also as a general term of contempt.

Also, apparently 'geek' can be used as a verb. How strange.

Geek, nerd, dork, it's all derogatory. My preferred title is overlord.

I would agree with what you've said in this thread, but with the knowledge that you are using the word as synonymous with other words, such as fanatic. A sports fanatic also analyzes statistics, such as how quickly the top ten in tennis serve and how it effects overall game.

The question is: has your group developed a solid framework for criteria? Not that there is a criteria for fanatics, but I think criteria is a foolproof way of nailing your definition.

Mychas:
Maybe geeks/nerds are a culture. Consisting of many sub-cultures.(gamers,hackers etc)

Welcome to the escapist merry first post. (I've been doing this a lot)
:)

You have a daunting task in front of you. You will have to define your terms. You can go the easy route and use geek/nerd/dork interchangeably. This will of course raise the ire of any and all those who might define themselves within those terms but for those not within the culture, that is probably how they perceive it. An alternative route would be to use those terms as a sort of marker to the extent that a person is into the specific culture IE Nerd is someone casual, Geek is more passionate (personally, I think dork is a derogatory term by those outside the culture). Doing this will allow you to have a framework from which to categorize and labels people's interest in any given topic. For example, someone who likes to play games with their friends and might have an impressive collection of games is a nerd. Someone who actually trains to compete in events or spends days in the rain waiting for a new game, is a geek.

Once you have defined your terms, than you can begin to study and label how people's interests affect their world view. These metaphors as you call them will probably be in several degrees of effect depending on a person's levels of interest in the medium they choose.

However, here is something for you to think about, at what level does the subculture stop being a subculture and become main stream? When I was a kid, video games where new and something that stayed in the realm of kids games. Now that I am older, games are still a part of my life and have widely become accepted as an acceptable medium to pass the time. This probably means that we as gamers can no longer call ourselves nerds because we (the societal we) are all gamers to some extent! The days of being called nerds because we game will soon come to an end. Therefore, in order to be a nerd, you will have to be at what used to be the geek level and the geek will have to go to new heights to separate himself from the nerd crowd.

PS I majored in Sociology in College. I love discussions like this.

Agayek:

Xanadu84:
Alright, so I'm pretty sure that everyone has a different definition of Geek, Nerd, and Dork. And no one is going to be able to agree on what the difference between the 3 are. I'm reminded of the epic battle I used to have over the debate over whether that kind of ice cream you get in the summer that's not as hard as normal ice cream is called a Creemee, or a Soft Serve. (I probably just derailed my own thread, but whatever.) Anyways, what I'm saying is that regardless of whether you call it Nerd, Dork, or Geek, or where you place the distinction, they all contain a common theme, a thread that ties them all together at its base. My hypothesis is an attempt to theorize what that thread is.

It looked like this didn't it: http://uploads.ungrounded.net/285000/285267_ultimateshowdown.swf

In scope, yes, yes it did. Religion and Politics had nothing on the Soft Serve/Creemee debate. It actually topped Ninjas versus Pirates, if you can believe it.

Lukeje:

OED; Geek:
1. slang (chiefly U.S.). a. orig. Eng. regional (north.). A person, a fellow, esp. one who is regarded as foolish, offensive, worthless, etc.

b. Freq. depreciative. An overly diligent, unsociable student; any unsociable person obsessively devoted to a particular pursuit (usually specified in a preceding attrib. noun). Cf. NERD n.

c. spec. A person who is extremely devoted to and knowledgeable about computers or related technology.
In this sense, esp. when as a self-designation, not necessarily depreciative.

2. U.S. slang. A performer at a carnival or circus whose show consists of bizarre or grotesque acts, such as biting the head off a live animal.

OED; Nerd:
An insignificant, foolish, or socially inept person; a person who is boringly conventional or studious. Now also: spec. a person who pursues an unfashionable or highly technical interest with obsessive or exclusive dedication.

OED; Dork:
1. The penis.

2. A foolish or stupid person; also as a general term of contempt.

Also, apparently 'geek' can be used as a verb. How strange.

I think that the words Geek, Dork, and Nerd have evolved and mashed together, diverged and converged, and become a tangled gestalt well beyond dissecting. Legends, theory, and interpretation has made it so defining these words is somewhat akin to a Ink Blot test; there is no one right interpretation, much of your definition will come down to what mental baggage you bring with you. My attempt is not to untangle this mess, but rather to hypothesize the original set of heuristics that was eventually labeled with these three words. Given how interchangeable these words are between social groups, I think its fair to say they share a common source, and I am attempting to identify this source. From this point on, I will use the word, "Geek" as a shortcut for whatever word or combination of words you might use, and the common ground between them.

I think that any definition is going to be incomplete, as the definition is attempting to simplify a very large, emergent phenomena. I think that these definitions are either not relevant to the, "Geek" Demographic, and are either antiquated or tangential uses of the word, or are addressing emergent phenomena of the property of being a Geek, properties that are rapidly becoming absolete: For example, I know geeks who get bad grades, geeks who are not good with computers, as well as geeks who are not obsessive in any one interest, but rather are interested in a wide variety of things that are identified as geeky. I think deeper analysis is warranted.

salbarragan:
You have a daunting task in front of you. You will have to define your terms. You can go the easy route and use geek/nerd/dork interchangeably. This will of course raise the ire of any and all those who might define themselves within those terms but for those not within the culture, that is probably how they perceive it. An alternative route would be to use those terms as a sort of marker to the extent that a person is into the specific culture IE Nerd is someone casual, Geek is more passionate (personally, I think dork is a derogatory term by those outside the culture). Doing this will allow you to have a framework from which to categorize and labels people's interest in any given topic. For example, someone who likes to play games with their friends and might have an impressive collection of games is a nerd. Someone who actually trains to compete in events or spends days in the rain waiting for a new game, is a geek.

Once you have defined your terms, than you can begin to study and label how people's interests affect their world view. These metaphors as you call them will probably be in several degrees of effect depending on a person's levels of interest in the medium they choose.

However, here is something for you to think about, at what level does the subculture stop being a subculture and become main stream? When I was a kid, video games where new and something that stayed in the realm of kids games. Now that I am older, games are still a part of my life and have widely become accepted as an acceptable medium to pass the time. This probably means that we as gamers can no longer call ourselves nerds because we (the societal we) are all gamers to some extent! The days of being called nerds because we game will soon come to an end. Therefore, in order to be a nerd, you will have to be at what used to be the geek level and the geek will have to go to new heights to separate himself from the nerd crowd.

PS I majored in Sociology in College. I love discussions like this.

I don't dare to separate those 3 words here. I think that it would be a daunting task to understand the associations and nuances of those words amongst one closed social group, much less the entire world. Though possible, it would not be reasonable. Instead, what I am addressing is that principle that has then had applied to it the words Geek, Nerd, and Dork. I will just refer to it as, "Geek" for simplicity. Separating the three into distinct categories based on the kind of metaphor would be interesting, but if I learned anything from the Creemee/Soft Serve battle its that people hold onto there definitions with a death grip, and there's no reasonable way to change there mind as the words themselves are all arbitrary sounds to begin with, so you can't argue one to be better then the other. The only way to change the paradigm in consensus, so...well, if we get there...with enough help and support, we could define the 3 words once and for all :)

As for culture, Id like to point something out: A culture, especially one that is not based on tribes or genetics, is formed due to a common interest or experience. So certainly Geek is a culture, but I think that my hypothesis is what brought about the culture in the first place. Saying that being a Geek is a product of a culture is not going down to the root of things.

The idea of being mainstream is an interesting one. Perhaps even telling of the Metaphor hypothesis itself. As something becomes mainstream, it starts to become a thing in and of itself: It is a product as solid and real as any plumbing or action could be, filled with marketability and brand name identification. As something becomes mainstream, it is less and less a representation of rules and principles that you appreciate on a metaphoric level, and more and more becomes just another piece of the world. Maybe this is why the hardcore gamers get upset as a product becomes popular, have reservations about ultra-realism and brown and grey war games, and long for the good old days of abstract, wildly imaginative games, as well as constantly strive and cheer for the idea of, "Innovation" to challenge that part of our brain that thinks outside the box

Um, Nerds are people who are smart and geeks are people who are involved with certain niche cultures (like video games, computers, D&D, etc.)
Geeks aren't necessary smart and thus nerds and nerds aren't necessarily geeks. The two just tend to coincide.
The stereotypical nerd gets straight A's while a stereotypical geek plays D&D and goes to Star Trek conventions(in costume).

yeah i kinda thought that geeks were on the sideshow and had nothing to do with knowledge

ThrobbingEgo:
Geek, nerd, dork, it's all derogatory. My preferred title is overlord.

Spawn more overlords.

The hypothesis is interesting, but I think we'd have to delve into the realm of etymology to really figure out where the word came from and its real meaning.

Oh, I sense a college thesis...

Twilight_guy:

The stereotypical nerd gets straight A's while a stereotypical geek plays D&D and goes to Star Trek conventions(in costume).

In that case, riddle me this.

I play D&D at Star Trek conventions in costume. What does that make me?

My ex called me Geekface almost daily, so it's kinda lost it's meaning for me, it's just another one of those words that gets tossed around without a real meaning behind it..

why must a gamer be a nerd. i mean don't like 90% of young people play games

I think there's a threshold issue. Many activities are geeky. A person becomes seen as a geek once they participate in a certain amount of geeky activities. Activities are geeky, participation in these activities make a geek, and geeky activities share a common thread. And as I said, I'm tying geek, nerd, and dork into one concept, and calling it, "geek" for expediencies sake.

As I see it, the word "dork" is not related to either "geek" or "nerd". As its original meaning is "penis", it's simply an insult in same category as "asshole" or "cunt" -- an implication that someone "is" a "dirty" part of the human anatomy.

"Geek" and "nerd" were originally synomymous (and to many, they still are), and referred to a (typically) young person who placed social interaction at a lower priority than an activity that most young people would view as boring, such as studying or reading, or pointless, such as gaming (playing advanced games not specifically meant for kids, and for purposes other than gambling), sci-fi or fantasy literature (because it's not even set in the "real" world) or essentially anything related to computers (because in those days, computers were generally viewed as toys, only intended for this particular demographic, and without any useful applications). Physically demanding sports were not considered pointless for this purpose as the primitive instincts we stupid apes are cursed with say that athletes are physically impressive and healthy specimens, and therefore likely to provide viable offspring, resulting in athletes getting laid.

According to this definition, a geek/nerd is not by necessity intelligent, but successful students are often (but not always) intelligent, and because it can be reasoned that they are successful because they choose to study rather than socialize, they end up being considered geeks/nerds. This means that many geeks/nerds are intelligent, and intelligent individuals are often geeks/nerds, but being intelligent does not mean being a geek/nerd by definition, nor the other way around.

As time has passed, two things have happened. One is obvious: computers now have countless applications, and therefore computer skill no longer implies "geek-/nerdhood". The other, more of a personal opinion of mine, is that geeks/nerds have taken the label "nerd", originally a word with negative connotations, and made it their own. I'm a nerd, and fucking proud of it. Given the chance to (oh shit, this is gonna be bad...) "play" my life again, "as a new, custom-made character", I'd still choose to "play" a nerd (though there are other things I'd change, but who wouldn't?). The term "geek", however, is one I view entirely as an insult. Geeks, to me, are extreme. They are the "80s college movie" nerds. They are so nerdy, nerds consider it shameful to associate with them. I know geeks. Yeah, the "going to Star Trek conventions in costume" type. Now, they're not bad people, not at all. I enjoy our stupid and utterly pointless discussions, with topics like "Could the Enterprise D beat a Romulan Warbird in a one-on-one fight?" or "Which are the ultimate defenders of mankind: Blood Angels or Ultramarines? No, I don't mean whether you like red or blue the best! I mean, look at the background material!". It's just that when it all comes down to it, I don't give a fuck! They do, because to them, these things seem important enough to kill for. They are geeks. I'm a nerd.

Flying-Emu:

I play D&D at Star Trek conventions in costume. What does that make me?

A virgin? ;-)

I use the word nerd to describe what you are calling a geek, I call a geek someone who has a physical apperance that is considered 'nerdy or geeky'

For me, the nerd is the personality, the geek is the appearance.

Makes sense, but as others may have said, it don' account for their social standing. The word can sometimes be used just to mean 'outcast'

you're a geek simply for analysing it so much
it's like analysing why wanker is an insult

though you're not a very good geek since you spelt "their" wrong at the start of the 2nd paragraph

Xanadu84:
Anime is usually considered Geeky. Possibly because anime uses picture, created by people, to represent real events, as opposed to useing real life itself?

Fantasy and Science Fiction are the Geeky genres. The biggest characteristic of Fantasy and Science Fiction is that it uses fictional worlds as a metaphor to reflect reality.

You said the same thing for both Anime and Fantasy/Sci-Fi. Why should they be separated ? That may look offensive to people who like anime.

Also, this:

New Troll:
Nerds are smart, geeks are knowledgeable.

That's how I differentiate them as well.

And also, 'dork' ? I'm not really familiar with that word, didn't know it's similar to 'geek' and 'nerd'.

((Yes, I like anime, as can obviously be noted by my comment but I try to be objective even about things I like and I say that was an objective comment.))

Out of curiosity, does no one else agree that there's a connection between the labels, "Geek" "Nerd" and (Apperently to a lesser extent) "Dork"? Because although in my experience, Geek tends be a more cultural and genre related thing, and Nerd tends to focus more on a person who is knowledgeable in some abstract area, I think the very fact that the definitions are constantly intertwining amongst different social groups shows a common root to all these words and there connotations. Or do people think that the labels geek, nerd, and dork are completely unrelated?

Martymer:
As I see it, the word "dork" is not related to either "geek" or "nerd". As its original meaning is "penis", it's simply an insult in same category as "asshole" or "cunt" -- an implication that someone "is" a "dirty" part of the human anatomy.

"Geek" and "nerd" were originally synomymous (and to many, they still are), and referred to a (typically) young person who placed social interaction at a lower priority than an activity that most young people would view as boring, such as studying or reading, or pointless, such as gaming (playing advanced games not specifically meant for kids, and for purposes other than gambling), sci-fi or fantasy literature (because it's not even set in the "real" world) or essentially anything related to computers (because in those days, computers were generally viewed as toys, only intended for this particular demographic, and without any useful applications). Physically demanding sports were not considered pointless for this purpose as the primitive instincts we stupid apes are cursed with say that athletes are physically impressive and healthy specimens, and therefore likely to provide viable offspring, resulting in athletes getting laid.

According to this definition, a geek/nerd is not by necessity intelligent, but successful students are often (but not always) intelligent, and because it can be reasoned that they are successful because they choose to study rather than socialize, they end up being considered geeks/nerds. This means that many geeks/nerds are intelligent, and intelligent individuals are often geeks/nerds, but being intelligent does not mean being a geek/nerd by definition, nor the other way around.

As time has passed, two things have happened. One is obvious: computers now have countless applications, and therefore computer skill no longer implies "geek-/nerdhood". The other, more of a personal opinion of mine, is that geeks/nerds have taken the label "nerd", originally a word with negative connotations, and made it their own. I'm a nerd, and fucking proud of it. Given the chance to (oh shit, this is gonna be bad...) "play" my life again, "as a new, custom-made character", I'd still choose to "play" a nerd (though there are other things I'd change, but who wouldn't?). The term "geek", however, is one I view entirely as an insult. Geeks, to me, are extreme. They are the "80s college movie" nerds. They are so nerdy, nerds consider it shameful to associate with them. I know geeks. Yeah, the "going to Star Trek conventions in costume" type. Now, they're not bad people, not at all. I enjoy our stupid and utterly pointless discussions, with topics like "Could the Enterprise D beat a Romulan Warbird in a one-on-one fight?" or "Which are the ultimate defenders of mankind: Blood Angels or Ultramarines? No, I don't mean whether you like red or blue the best! I mean, look at the background material!". It's just that when it all comes down to it, I don't give a fuck! They do, because to them, these things seem important enough to kill for. They are geeks. I'm a nerd.

Flying-Emu:

I play D&D at Star Trek conventions in costume. What does that make me?

A virgin? ;-)

I like the idea of, "Useless" here. I like it because I think I can steal that concept to shed a little more light on what I mean by Metaphor :). I think that what you refer to as useless is not exactly useless, but rather something not directly applicable to reality. A game might be useless, but the kind of thinking you cultivate through the game may not be. One thing I might need to add is that, as a more extreme version of geek-ness, there is people who focus on the abstract and not directly applicable, at the expense of those things that have direct applications to life. For example, loving Star Trek is one level of geek-ness, learning Klingon at the expense of social interaction is another. The second forgoes the directly applicable in favor of the abstract. Personally, I would say that a Geek should be a person who appreciates the abstract, and a nerd is someone who appreciates the abstract in exclusion of the concrete....but your millage may vary.

ThreeWords:
Makes sense, but as others may have said, it don' account for their social standing. The word can sometimes be used just to mean 'outcast'

I'm not to concerned about social standing here. Yes, Geeks may tend to be social outcasts, but that is just a consequence of there interests, not the underlying root. A kid more interested in the abstract may be seen as not doing anything of value, and therefore be an outcast. Geek-ness brings about outcast, being an outcast doesn't make you a geek. There's plenty of outcasts who are not geeks, after all. I think that the word has just been associated so strongly with being an outcast, that it gets bastardized. It's like how Nazis were evil, and so in present day, Nazi still refers to the German political group, but can be used to describe anyone who is evil or fascist in slang. And no, there is no intended connection between geeks and Nazis here, its just an analogy.

AdmiralWolverineLightningbolt:
you're a geek simply for analysing it so much
it's like analysing why wanker is an insult

though you're not a very good geek since you spelt "their" wrong at the start of the 2nd paragraph

Your a geek for being such a stickler for punctuation :)

Honestly, I think its the Psych degree that's talking here more then the geek.

Yeah, it's a bad habit. I know full well the difference between There, Their, and They're, I just...don't write like I do. I generally don't worry about it when I'm having a casual conversation on the internet, and don't see my grammar as obstructing anyone's understanding of what i'm saying.

Gilgamesh00:

Xanadu84:
Anime is usually considered Geeky. Possibly because anime uses picture, created by people, to represent real events, as opposed to useing real life itself?

Fantasy and Science Fiction are the Geeky genres. The biggest characteristic of Fantasy and Science Fiction is that it uses fictional worlds as a metaphor to reflect reality.

You said the same thing for both Anime and Fantasy/Sci-Fi. Why should they be separated ? That may look offensive to people who like anime.

Also, this:

New Troll:
Nerds are smart, geeks are knowledgeable.

That's how I differentiate them as well.

And also, 'dork' ? I'm not really familiar with that word, didn't know it's similar to 'geek' and 'nerd'.

((Yes, I like anime, as can obviously be noted by my comment but I try to be objective even about things I like and I say that was an objective comment.))

I think there's a difference between what I said for Sci Fi and Fantasy, and what I said for Anime. Anime is abstract and geeky based on its presentation and appearance, while Science Fiction is abstract and geeky due to its content. Of course, plenty of Anime is also abstract in content, and much of it is fantasy or science fiction. So there's plenty of Permutations, but at its root, all Anime is pictures made to represent something instead of a picture of the thing itself, so all anime is geeky for that reason. And all Sci Fi and Fantasy uses an abstraction to represent the real world, and it is all geeky for that reason. Im an anime fan too, I would not blanketly insult the genre.

Xanadu84:

I like the idea of, "Useless" here. I like it because I think I can steal that concept to shed a little more light on what I mean by Metaphor :). I think that what you refer to as useless is not exactly useless, but rather something not directly applicable to reality. A game might be useless, but the kind of thinking you cultivate through the game may not be. One thing I might need to add is that, as a more extreme version of geek-ness, there is people who focus on the abstract and not directly applicable, at the expense of those things that have direct applications to life. For example, loving Star Trek is one level of geek-ness, learning Klingon at the expense of social interaction is another. The second forgoes the directly applicable in favor of the abstract. Personally, I would say that a Geek should be a person who appreciates the abstract, and a nerd is someone who appreciates the abstract in exclusion of the concrete....but your millage may vary.

[snip]

... A kid more interested in the abstract may be seen as not doing anything of value, and therefore be an outcast. ...

Bingo. More or less.

But... regarding the extreme version you mentioned, learning Klingon at the expense of social interaction (at least if you're just a Trek fan, and not a linguist or something), is heading in the direction of Asperger syndrome. Obsession with something unusual, often without any practical application, coupled with a lack of interest in social interaction, is pretty much a textbook sign of AS (though it's not technically required in order to be diagnosed with it). True, one could easily say that all who have AS are nerds/geeks, but not the reverse. You need to put in a distinction between having an obsession and just having "strange" priorities (like thinking that studying Klingon is simply more fun than being social for its own sake).

I've often found that it's not that I lack interest in social interaction. I just don't choose to interact with others for its own sake. Right now, for example, I'm interacting with you because I find this conversation interesting. Not because I have a genuine interest in socializing with you (no offense...). I find it highly unlikely that when this conversation is over, I'll start asking where you are and what the weather is like over there, just because I want to keep socializing. It's like, yeah, I like driving, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna go driving even though I'm not actually going anywhere. The extreme version would be if I didn't participate in this conversation, but just lurked, as even though it peaked my interest, I wouldn't have an interest in interacting with you. I might have an interest in going somewhere, but I'd still stay at home, to avoid the boredom of driving.

You sir, have opened my mind to a new and terribly interesting venue of thought. And for that I am eternally grateful.

From some of the examples you provided, I think that the hyphothesis does have standing. Yet I think it only works when the activity is not considered geeky in general , such as sports,computers or music . Yet for things like anime it doesn't. Anime is consitered geeky because only a small group of people enjoy it and it seems childish. Anime is really just cartoons after all. The same thing can be said about gaming and fanasty/sci-fi. And comic books.

Yet I don't think gaming is viewed a geeky anymore. Or at least not as much as it once was. This is because more people are playing games and more mature games are being released. And more people know about them.

I usually define a nerd as someone who struggles in social situations, or looks like someone who would struggle in a social situation.

Yeah.

Name Not Found:
From some of the examples you provided, I think that the hyphothesis does have standing. Yet I think it only works when the activity is not considered geeky in general , such as sports,computers or music . Yet for things like anime it doesn't. Anime is consitered geeky because only a small group of people enjoy it and it seems childish. Anime is really just cartoons after all. The same thing can be said about gaming and fanasty/sci-fi. And comic books.

Yet I don't think gaming is viewed a geeky anymore. Or at least not as much as it once was. This is because more people are playing games and more mature games are being released. And more people know about them.

Well now, Anime is geeky because it is cartoony, right? Well what is a cartoon? It's an icon that represents a thing, not the thing itself. Scott McCloud goes into this in great detail in, "Understanding Comics", and I think it applies to anime as well as comics. Also, I think you can have a music Geek, sports geek, etc. Generally, there the people who know a bunch of abstract data about something, for instance a music geek listening to a song and identifying its genres, subgenres, etc. And with games, once a game starts to take on tangible benefits and applications, such as the billion dollar industry, technology, and social standing of video games, it becomes less geeky. And, a game becomes less geeky when it starts to become more of a simulation instead of an icon.

sauerkraus:
You sir, have opened my mind to a new and terribly interesting venue of thought. And for that I am eternally grateful.

Thank you, thats the best I could have hoped for.

 

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