Why Geek Culture Really Hasn’t Changed Much in 30 Years

Why Geek Culture Really Hasn't Changed Much in 30 YearsGeek 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.

Photo: Toffelginkgo (Wikimedia Commons)

10 comments On Why Geek Culture Really Hasn’t Changed Much in 30 Years

  • Geek culture hasn’t changed much in the past 30 years, but when exactly did the term “geek” go from referring to a circus sideshow to a passion for something? (I rarely come across this old meaning, but recently heard the term used to refer to one of the zombies on the TV show The Walking Dead.)

  • You can be a geek for anything, we are all geeks in some area we all have a knowledge and passion in something that we geek out with. geek culture hasn’t really change for many years now and it really doesn’t need to change i guess. Good article 😀

    • Sadly, we are not all geeks. A large segment of the population is simply not passionate about anything. To be a geek, you need to be passionate about something.

  • I think one fundamental thing about geek culture has changed in that it is now more socially acceptable to be a “geek.” The passion that drives people to dedicate their time and resources into any given thing enough to be considered geek is now considered a good thing… instead of being considered fringe zealots.

  • I think one fundamental thing about geek culture has changed in that it is now more socially acceptable to be a “geek.” The passion that drives people to dedicate their time and resources into any given thing enough to be considered geek is now considered a good thing… instead of being considered fringe zealots.

  • Geeks don’t have to necessarily be associated with technology. Back in 2010, I started my own license plate collection, which many people don’t think is geeky. But, with me and the growing number of collectors out there, it can be considered that.

  • I would classify myself as a Sy-Fi geek. I am very passionate about future technology. Like H+ technology, and Google Glass technology.
    I’m very excited for Windows 8, because in the future “Microsoft in 2020” videos, you see everything is touch screen, and it works in such a great way. I’m excited for Windows 8, because it is a major change for the way we already use computers. It’s something different. As Steve Jobs would say, Microsoft is “Thinking Different”.

  • My dad back in the day tinkered with old seemingly broken gadgets like TVs, radios, stereos, VCR’s, vacuum cleaners, even bikes. Sometimes I saw him do those things on any given Saturday. I think that’s where I got my geek traits from. For a while I used to find old PCs that people threw out and try to get the piece of junk working. If I didn’t, I salvaged it for parts. Then I got a Mac. The thing I regret about that is the lack of tinker able options like I could on a PC. I just don’t find the need to fix old things. The people that threw their old junk out figured out that same thing. It is now cheaper to buy something new. I even went as far as to take a C++ programing class in college. That is when some of the tech geek in me died. I would bever be a developer as cool as it would have been. Now I am stuck with a Psychology degree. Are there any other geeks with useless degrees like mine?

  • Geek Culture hasn’t changed in over 30 years because most people don’t find that lifestyle attractive. Geeks like to mess around with technology and experiment with new technologies Most people just want gadgets and devices to work.

  • years ago, i thought of “geeks” as the guys in the movie “war games” that matthew broderick went to for some advice. no mo.

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

Site Footer

Ryan Matthew Pierson