Today — Friday, July 13 — people around the world will celebrate Embrace Your Geekness Day. The holiday celebrates people who are into “geeky” activities, such as “dungeon games, comic books and doing vampire dress-up,” as well as those who “spend endless hours going strange places on the internet.”
What is a Geek? The Term is Evolving
The term “geek” has transformed dramatically in recent years. According to Big Think expert and Merriam-Webster Dictionary lexicographer Kory Stamper, the term has been reappropriated. She explains that a geek refers to a person with technical know-how; geeks are a brainy group that is good at technology. This differs from a “nerd,” which refers to someone with in-depth knowledge of a specific field or topic.
The words “nerd” and “geek” are often used interchangeably, although they do not share the same meaning or origin. Geek, a term that dates back to the 1500s, once described a circus performer whose only talent was biting the heads off live animals for entertainment. A nerd, on the other hand, is a term that originated in the 1950s and was created by author Dr. Seuss in his book “If I Ran the Zoo.”
5 Reasons to Embrace Your Geek
Here are five reasons why you should embrace your inner geek on this international geek day.
1) The Term Communicates That You Are Intelligent
Today, the term geek has a positive connotation — consider people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ursula Burns, and Big Think expert Elon Musk. People around the world know these famous men and woman as being incredibly intelligent, innovative, and successful. These “cool geeks” are the types of people that many business professionals and technology gurus would give their left arms to be half as successful as in their lifetimes.
2) You May Be More Socially Competent and Mature Than the “Cool Kids”
Research shows that the so-called dweebs, geeks, and nerds of the world do better in the long run than their “cool” peers. A 2014 study showed that “cool kids” were 45% more likely to get caught up in adverse behaviors and activities than their less popular counterparts.
The results of the study on early adolescent pseudomature behavior supported the study’s central hypothesis:
“Early adolescent pseudomature behavior predicted long‐term difficulties in close relationships, as well as significant problems with alcohol and substance use, and elevated levels of criminal behavior.”
3) As a Geek, You Are Viewed in an Increasingly Positive Way
As perspectives about geeks are changing for the better by society as a whole, more people are willingly identifying themselves by the title of geek. In fact:
- 41% of people are fine with being identified as a geek;
- 45% of people think that geeks equate to being early technology adopters; and
- 66% of millennials view the term geek as a compliment.
4) You Are Technically Savvy and an Early Adopter of New Technologies
Being someone who is known for being “tech smart” and an early adopter of new technologies can be highly beneficial in the workplace. The work environment is becoming increasingly digital as technologically continues to advance. If you are someone who is viewed as being “with it” when it comes to technology, you will already be in a good place to further build upon that reputation and become a reliable resource for your peers and leadership.
5) Geeks Bring Different Perspectives and Knowledge to the Conversation
Big Think expert and theoretical physicist Brian Greene says that everyone — particularly the “science geeks” and “art nerds” — should be collaborating because they each have so much to offer each other, businesses, and humanity at large.
“When these two communities come together and allow the underlying insights of science to inform the poetry of art, then there’s some wonderful things that can emerge. Because at the end of the day these disciplines are not separate. These disciplines are all part of humankind’s search for understanding.”
On this Embrace Your Geekness Day, we hope you allow your inner geek to shine through and will engage your passion for learning and collecting new things.