Geek – Concept, characteristics, nerd and geek culture

We explain what a geek is, what types exist and what geek culture is. Also, differences with a nerd and a geek.

Geeks are often interested in video games, fantasy, and science fiction.

What is a geek?

The term geek is a loan from the English language, which is usually used to refer to someone who is fascinated by technology and computing, or has very specific and unusual interests, associated with fandom and memorabilia.

It is a term typical of the twentieth century, initially with a derogatory sense. Its origin dates back to the environment of the circus and carnivals, in which workers with little social talent and no useful ability were called geeks, so their contribution to the show used to be that of tearing heads of live chickens with their teeth. Hence, the term became popular in the English language as a synonym for someone socially undesirable and without talents.

The word geek, along with others such as nerd, were used at the end of the 20th century to refer disparagingly to shy, introverted people, little interested in sports and with unusual tastes. Nevertheless, at the beginning of the 21st century it has become a much more positive term, undoubtedly as a consequence of the enormous technological dependence of the contemporary world.

Today, geeks are considered an urban tribe or contemporary social group, with a presence in all countries and cultures. In addition, there are protest groups that even celebrate “Geek Pride Day” every May 25.

Geek culture

Geek people are commonly expected to have a set of personality traits, hobbies, and talents that they have to do closely with the world of technology and innovation (neophilia, attraction to the new).

At the same time they are supposed to have little interest or little talents for conventional social interaction. However, this is little more than a stereotype, and the so-called “geek world” is much broader and more diverse than it seems at first glance.

In general, the geek is considered a lifestyle, in which technical and computer skills stand out (such as hackers), a taste for role-playing games (especially online and for multiplayer, or MMORPG), video games, collecting and a love of reading and films of fantasy and science fiction. This, obviously, to a different degree, measure and in accordance with the personality.

Types of geek

Although there is no official typology, far from it, there is a tendency to distinguish between three aspects or variants of the geek person, as follows:

  • Hackers, whose life revolves around computing and the Internet, areas in which they can exercise a certain mastery and professionalism, as activists, computer hackers or regulars of forums and exchange spaces.
  • Fanboys and fangirls, geeks whose interests are very intensely focused on some cultural consumer product: certain series, films, books or music, or all at once, of which they know absolutely everything and are a kind of specialists.
  • Gamers, fans of video games and the world of digital entertainment consoles, who invest a good part of their time and money in playing games, to the point of participating in e-sports or simply doing an amateur career.

Difference between geek, nerd and geek

The lines between the categories of geek, nerd and geek are often blurred, since these are informal terms, often applied without much distinction and without much interest on the part of people who do not belong to this kind of counterculture. However, there is a tendency to differentiate between them based on the following:

  • Nerds They tend to be socially inept people, with a strong shyness, introversion or even autism, but at the same time a notorious intelligence and an ability to focus beyond the usual.
  • Geeks They have a lifestyle focused on technology and certain specific hobbies, but they do not necessarily have a depressed social life, nor an intelligence superior to the rest.
  • Geeks, on the other hand, they come to be the same geeks, only that in this case it is a term of Hispanic use (taken, paradoxically, from the English freak, “Misfit” or “weird”). It is possible, however, that they differ between one and the other based on their educational level, their consumption capacity and their social class, relegating the term geek for less resourceful geeks.