A decade ago, the geek might have been an ostracized character; A person obsessed with things that were ‘uncool’ and worlds that were unknown to much of the greater populace. However, with the rise of technology and ultra-successful geeks such as Zuckerberg and Musk, geeks are redefining the image of their subculture. Here is why you should be proud of being an Eddie Munson and how you can be your best self.
LFG: Geek Community
Although geeks are often viewed as being outsiders, the Internet has allowed us to connect in ways that our GenX parents only dreamed of. Before the Internet, there was probably only a handful of geeks in each town. They would meet up to play Dungeons & Dragons or Space Invaders in a basement. Today, geeks are talking to each other on Discord, TeamSpeak3, and more. Even if there are few physical geeks to connect with in person, our virtual community is massive.
Furthermore, there are numerous online geek communities for people with specific interests. For instance, the Warhammer community has grown exponentially since its launch in 1987. Today, aside from the players of the original wargame, there are collectors, model painters, tabletop role-players, and video gamers who all consider themselves part of the Warhammer family. Live and online Warhammer events range from local to global and see hundreds of thousands of participants from all around the world.
While Warhammer is just a crumb in the cookie of the entire geek universe, the pattern is consistent throughout the community. People with very specialized interests are no longer estranged from each other but are using technology to build a stronger and more connected social group. From Reddit to GitHub to crypto chat groups on Discord, there is always a place to explore your interests and find support—technical or otherwise. Geeks are happy to share expertise about anything from lines of code to relationships.
What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
One reason why geeks are so ready to share information is that they have an unstoppable enthusiasm for the things that they love. And geeks can love a lot of things. You see, many topics and genres in the geek multiverse are interconnected. Video games tie in with comic books; comic books relate to science fiction; science fiction takes us to theoretical physics or futuristic technology. Knowledge is boundless. And we love the idea of being able to recreate our fantasies by doing deeper research or building bigger and better tech.
This is why the Mind Palaces of geeks are full of seemingly frivolous information such as pop culture references and niche memes. They are interested in everything. And it is this obsessive focus that enables them to absorb new information like a sponge. If a geek can remember the name of the Lurian barfly who hangs out at Quark’s Bar in Star Trek (it is Morn, by the way), they will have no problem studying twenty academic journals in one sitting or learning to code C++ over the weekend.
This devotion to knowledge has created an important benchmark for geeks. Instead of using popularity, influence, or physical appearance as a gauge, geeks judge each other based on their strengths and skills. The meritocratic approach centers on education, effort, and continued learning. It offers the underdogs a chance to exercise their talents. When only the best and the brightest brains lead the way, society benefits from innovation in technology and a superior understanding of science and mathematics.
Live long and prosper
Being a geek is not all roses and rainbows, however. Geeks often face certain challenges in their formative years that make it difficult for them to develop their whole selves. While their minds may be brilliant and their skills impeccable, geeks may have trouble managing others or communicating with non-geeks. Therefore, geeks must take time to focus on personal emotional development. In fact, some life coaches have emotional intelligence training for geeks to help technical leaders improve the way they think and work.
It is tempting for anyone to seek the comfort of an echo chamber, and it is particularly so for geeks. Many geeks like to keep small social circles and spend as little time as possible with ‘normies’. Unfortunately, this limits your access to diverse sources of information and ideas. If you want to grow as a person and a professional, you must share thoughts with people outside of your circle. Similarly, moving out of your comfort zone and visiting another place (no, not Comic-Con), can help to jolt your mind out of auto-pilot and get your brain juices flowing again.
Lastly, always remember to have fun. It has been said that geeks never grow up—and why should you? So much of the information that we have gained came from our love of the unknown and the obscure. It is much easier to retain information when studying a topic that you are passionate about. So, keep exploring and enjoying what you do with childlike curiosity. Geeks are changing the world, and rightfully so. Whether you are a closet geek or a full-blown bookworm, be proud. And do not be afraid to become a better version of yourself.