Geek culture has surprised corporations for decades. From the early days of phone phreaking that played havoc on AT&T’s phone systems in the ’70s to the rise of online media over the dinosaur multinational publications of the past, geek culture is indeed an impressive force.
It’s impossible to accurately measure how many people associate themselves as geeks. The term itself has evolved greatly over the years, and I’ve been fortunate enough to experience geek culture first hand in numerous situations.
Looking back on my youth, living with a disk jockey mother and a BBS sysop father, I’m beginning to see that I’m actually a lot more like my parents than I once believed. They may not admit it, but they’re geeks just like me. Sure, their passion of choice may be slightly different, but the attitude is still there.
Chris Pirillo’s grandfather has been dubbed the “World’s Oldest Geek” by the LockerGnome community. He’s a dedicated ham radio operator, having spoken to hundreds of fellow hams from all around the world. It’s a passion based on a relatively old technology. Does that make him any less of a geek? I say nay; it’s not the medium but the passion that makes a geek.
Being a geek means being passionate about something beyond the passive interest of what it is and what it does. It’s not as easily defined as someone who loves using a computer or playing Dungeons & Dragons on the weekends. It’s about passion, and desire to learn more about something they enjoy.
That may be one of the primary reasons geek culture really hasn’t changed very much in the past 30 years. It may have been the same well before then, though I haven’t been around quite long enough to figure that out.
What makes science fiction geeks from the ’70s so different from the science fiction geeks of today? They’re both enthusiastic about the future. They both enjoy stories and lore involving futuristic technologies and space travel.
The fact is: geek culture itself hasn’t really changed very much. The content, obsessions, and quantity of content geeks are capable of consuming may have changed, but the underlaying passions that geeks share really haven’t. Geeks are passionate, and the target of that passion is fluid. Whether it’s Star Wars, Star Trek, camping, or even philosophy, a geek today is a lot like a geek from the last generation.
Even if you don’t readily identify yourself as a geek, you may very well qualify under than category if you have something that you’re very passionate about. Are you a sewing geek? How about a car geek? Reading this, you may even be a social media geek. Either way, being a geek is nothing to be ashamed of.
Carry the name loud and proud. Geeks are leaders, innovators, and are typically the best at whatever it is they do. They’re passionate about their endeavors and it’s that very passion that makes them more likely to succeed in their careers.
Are you a geek? What is your passion? Leave a creative comment below and let us know.