Friday, February 27, 2009

When did being a geek become cool?

Steve Johnson at CAD Nausem, posted yesterday, or today in Australian time, giving us a little video that he compiled from a series of short interviews of the bloggers and Autodeskers that were at the AutoCAD 2010 Launch Event. It's a fun video and I loved it.

A Gaggle of Geeks

I'm in the video, so of course I loved it. If you aren't a geek, or a CAD Geek, then you might not find it as funny and entertaining as I did, but that's ok.

As I was watching my fellow bloggers in this video, and even recently, I wondered (as it says on the headline) "When did being a geek become cool?" When I was a kid, way back before the internet (all we had were 400 baud models going to message boards), being computer savy, or just tech savy was taboo. Now, everyone is tech savy. Well, not everyone, but it is more mainstream.

Fewer and fewer people have cell phones. Smart phones are becoming more and more mainstream. They are no longer a sign of upper echelon management personnel, but they are an every day site, on the average person. Try to buy a "cell phone" and you hard pressed. I just want a phone, no camera, no spreadsheet, no facebook link, etc. I said that recently because we were looking to get a "regular" cell phone for our pre-teen. Found one, but it was difficult. Now my 8 year old wants a blackberry!! Scary thing is she's smart and savy enough to use it.

Back on topic, sorry. When did having your own blog become acceptable? When I made my first website, or home page as they were often called (though I never liked that term), people asked me "Why?" Valid question. I only did it because I could. That's a geek, making a website, something accessible to the entire world with no concern if anyone ever sees it, simply because we can. "They" called me a geek. I've always been a geek. I was a geek when being a geek wasn't cool.

Now you see geeks everywhere. The smart, nerdy, geeky archetypes have always existed in pop culture, TV, comics, movies, everywhere. But now, mainstream characters are geekish. How many TV shows are there who's main character is a geek? Or at least have prominent characters that are members of the geek race? To many. There are even sows out there that depend on a geek type audience. People that aren't geeky by nature won't get most of the references in the weekly dialog. For example, the TV show Big Bang Theory. I love it. Not because it's a ground breaking program, but because of all o f the obscure, and not so obscure, geek related references. When my wife and I watch that show, we find that I am laughing non stop, while she is wondering why? No, not why did she marry a geek! But why am I laughing. Then I have to explain to her the reference, and well, she still doesn't laugh, but is glad that I am having a good time.

My wife married a geek once. Yup, that was me. She knows it. She did it on purpose. She told me once that her aunt told her to marry a geek. She said to do this because you know they are intelligent, (um, duh?) loyal, and have no way of getting a girlfriend to cheat with! Or something like that. It's true though. Between my wife, my kids, my blog and my dog I have no time for a girlfriend!

If you watched Steve's video, did you notice the reactions the people gave when he asked us if we were geeks? Many replied in a positive fashion, while others reluctantly admitted guilt. Some were embarrassed, though I feel most were faining embarrassment, while others embraced their state of geekiness. When Steve asked me that question all I gave was a very strong and convincing "YES." I didn't feel the need to explain it, or justify it. Yes I am a geek. I have always been a geek and I will always be a geek. I know it, you know it, my family knows it and the entire world knows it. What I don't like is when people jump on the Geek Bandwagon in an effort to look cool. I mean, how ridiculous is that? Using your blackberry or myspace page to "prove" you are a geek is absurd. Can you hack that crackberry? Did you write code for your page? Can you even spell HTML, RSS Feed?

Being a true geek today is being a geek on a whole different level. It's not just playing with Star Wars toys, or knowing how many tribbles fell on Kirk, it's knowing these things and loving them. It's being able to do things with mainstream tech that the average user can't. It's about getting excited about a new release, or a hotfix, or, well, you get the idea.

Geeks are passionate people, just like jocks, or politicians. They love what they love because to them it is fantastic. They aren't bad, they aren't good, they just are. They enjoy life and the things in them. They are becoming more mainstream and its about time that society embraces their way of life.

What do you call a group of nerds? Or geeks?

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