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Changes in the Perception of "Geek" Culture

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Monique Vilme

on 8 June 2016

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Transcript of Changes in the Perception of "Geek" Culture

Research Questions
Evolution the Nerd and the Geek
Origin of the species
Nerd [nurd] noun: a person that is overly intellectual and/or lacking social skills.
Used to describe one of the creatures in the 1950 Dr Seuss book
If I Ran the Zoo
Commonly used by late 1970s, coinciding with the boom in computer use
Geek [geek] noun: an expert or enthusiast for a specialized subject or activity (a term of pride as self-reference, but often used disparagingly by others).
While used as a derogatory term originally, the word "geek" gained popularity in the circus. Circus performers that performed amazing feats were "geeks".
Labeling Themselves
The options provided varied from viewing it as an insult to identifying with both labels. The results showed that 44% of the participants identified as "nerd".
Despite the fact that more people preferred to be called a geek, when anonymous, participants revealed that they identified themselves as "nerd".
Though this is most likely the result of the majority who considered themselves Advanced AP students.
Mass Media's Influence
Discussion Question!
Are situations like this still in high school common?
Why are they still prevalent?
If not, what resulted in the change?

Mass Media's Influence
For those who have seen it, how many of you would befriend one of the male main cast members on Big Bang Theory? For what reasons would you, and for what reasons would you not?
Views on Sterotypes
The majority chose Carmen as more geeky than Joshua (83%)
It is inferred that thisdue to geeks being linked to obsession and 'Carmen' was created to exhibit that trait. However Joshua though, a Marvel geek, was in a sport's team and people are less likely to associate that label with someone involved in a sport as it makes them more likely to cross social barriers in a high school.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
The popularity of things considered nerdy or geeky are a function of many changes resulting from the era:
The Technological Age has led to an new found appreciation for entrepreneurs or technological engineers who start off as nerds.
The out put in mass media which endorses all things nerdy or geeky. (movies, music, novels, TV shows)
It's also the counter culture, we are challenging what our parents believed in and rebelling against the traditional way! Geeks and nerds are now the hacker heroes of this computer generation

What is the operational definition of a nerd and a geek?
For what reasons have aspects of "geek" culture become mainstream in the United States?
Is it the result of a shift in the stereotype?
Have the amount of nerds/geeks increased in this generation?
Where is "geek" culture more prevalent? To whom is the term "nerd" more associated?
How does mass media influenced the way people perceive those labeled as "nerd" or "geek"?
How do you define a
? A
Because there is a difference!
87% of people prefer to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
41% are comfortable with being called a geek. Only 24% are comfortable with being called a nerd however.
66% of millennials think being called a geek is a compliment
Discussion Question !
The rising popularity of "geek" culture is a result of the stereotype changing. People nowadays attribute different characteristics to a nerd or a geek making that person more accepted and praised rather than socially isolated and mocked.
A majority of people don't self-identify as a nerd or geek will find themselves entertained by things they view as either nerdy or geeky.

Data was primarily collected by means of research, survey and an interview.
52 people participated in the survey that was administered online. It was spread via social media and the experimenter. Those who took the survey were within the age range of 10-24+ with the hopes of administering to a population that lived during this "change". In addition to their age, their academic standard was accounted for. Those who took this survey remain anonymous.
66% were with in the 14-16 age range while 2% were within the age range of 10-13
An over whelming 69% of the survey participants considered themselves advanced students who took APs
Graphed Results
Participants were more likely to not identify with these labels then with them both
Discussion Question!
What aspects of "geek" culture do you consider the most popular to others? Why?
Participants felt most comfortable admitting they enjoyed TV Shows
associated with geek culture. Sci-fi/fantasy and the DC/Marvel films tied at 2nd place.
Only 4 out of the 52 participants reported no interest in the following.
So although 23% of participants did not self-identify with geek only 7% claimed no interest
00:00-4:15 to 10:10
Self-defined -- geeky and proud | Tara Gross | TEDxSarasota
Popular entertainment has capitalized on the connections between geekiness and desire through television shows like “Beauty and the Geek” and “Geek Love.”
As Internet culture (and its facilitation of specialization and fandom) grows, being a geek is increasingly associated with knowing.
- Jane Hu, "When Exactly Did It Get Cool To Be A Geek?

["But these days, we’re all geeks. Everyone’s got an iPod, an iPhone or an iPad, ... Geek culture is a new counterculture—a world full of amazing products and films, music and games for people who are proud to be nerdy and square."]
“How Steve Jobs Made Geek Culture Cool”
2010 Wall Street Journal
My issue with Noah Foster...
Views on the Sterotype
65% of the participants were more likely to pick Ernie as their ideal nerd despite his academic status (he is failing some of his classes).
Although Beth was her class' valedictorian and had a flawless GPA, participants chose Ernie over her due to his physical and social attributes.
It is inferred that participants were less likely to pick Beth due that fact that she partied and nerds are associated with being socially inept
Discussion Question!
What could have influenced the connections participants made between these traits and nerd/geeks?
Are We Evolving?
"In the 1990s, the nerds of the 80s were rolling in the cash as the tech boom swept across the nation and rapidly spread worldwide. Billions of dollars were going into research and development as the Internet expanded and commerce took notice.
Suddenly, everyone was a hacker or web developer. Countless tech startups swamped Silicon Valley and the rest of the country as everybody with a modem tried to cash in on the boom. In short, the nerds of yesterday are the successful business tycoons of today, at least some of the time."- Gery L. Deer,
When Did Being Nerdy Become Cool?
Gaining An Interest
Only 44% of participants in the survey claimed to have always been interested in entertainment such as shown previously.
29% of participants were introduced to it by friends or family members. However 19 % were introduced via forms of social media.
In fact, the average from the survey showed that from 1 to 4 (with 1 being an extremely positive response towards those who were interested in the mentioned types of entertainment and 4 being an extreme negative) the weighted average was a 2.02.
This data shows that the interest is often not fostered by external forces and when it is, it is those who people consider closest and whose opinions tend to matter most such as friends and family members.
Discussion Question!
Is this age of technology making us more dependent on nerds or computer geeks? As a result are we urging students into get involved in S.T.E.M?
Discussion Question!
Think about the United States, consider the country's culture and international status. Shouldn't we be valuing our nerds over our geeks? Why should we or why not?
"America Needs it's Nerds!"
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