New study shatters Internet 'geek' image

CNN is running This Reuters Article.
They say the typical Internet user -- far from being a geek -- shuns television and actively socializes with friends, a study on surfing habits said on Wednesday.

The findings of the first World Internet Project report present an image of the average Netizen that contrasts with the stereotype of the loner "geek" who spends hours of his free time on the Internet and rarely engages with the real world.

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Not a surprise...

This isn't really all that surprising. I consider myself a geek, as do many of my friends. (Some of them being geeks, some not.) To wit, here's a brief synapsis of my geekyness:



  • I'm a lead web designer for my library

  • I voraciously read sci-fi and fantasy

  • William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and Neil Stephenson are gods

  • I'm 27 years old, and still play D&D on a weekly basis



The last point is the kicker. D&D, by it's very nature is, a geek thing. Additonally, it's necessarily a social activity. In other words, there's a conflict between what people perceive to be geek activities and the social nature thereof. You can't normally play by yourself, you need others, and you need to be social. The image of the lone geek sitting in his/her basement bathed in the glow of a computer monitor(s); and the only sounds emanating therefrom are the tapping of keys, the music of They Might Be Giants, and the occasional slurping on a fountain soda is really a thing of the past. In a way, I think cyberpunk authors like Gibson and Sterling contributed to that. They made geeks cool, heroic, and social. Perhaps many of the basement techheads decided that it was okay to be social.


Speaking for my geek friends (Yes, most of whom show up to play D&D.) they normally can't stand TV except for certain shows which they are very picky about. One of them was really into 24 for a while, but just lost interest because he could start guessing plot outcomes correctly. We're geeks even in how we watch TV as more than a few of us don't even catch the shows at their appointed times, that's what a TiVO is for.


In the end it doesn't really matter what the image is because there's no real way to classify a geek anymore. The picture people had of geeks was akin to the one of nerds, you know, the guys/gals in glasses who quote Star Trek and eat nothing but pizza and soda. Now you have "goth geeks" and "uber geeks" and "standard geeks" and "office geeks" and "cyberpunks" and on and on and on. They all look different, lead vastly different lifestyles, and enjoy different things. Classifying geeks into a social group is like classifying Black people into a social group, or White people, or Japanese, or any other ethnic/racial group. Sure, you might get an overall picture of the group, but it'll be wildly inaccurate when you look at individuals.

Re:Not a surprise...

Hmmm...do you suppose there are any women geeks? Ladies? I am not a geek, I'm sort of a would-be geek.And are geeks and Luddites opposites? And should Geek be capitalized?

Re:Not a surprise...

Of course there are women who are geeks. The same ideas apply regardless of gender: avid readers, intrigued by technology, somewhat atypically social...

Much though technology is appreciated by geeks, I would not say that Luddites are precisely opposite, though they are opposed.

Geek is not a name, but a descriptive term. Hence, it should not be capitalized unless at the begining of a sentence.

Capitalization

Well that depends. If geeks (which I usually write down) are an ethnic group, Chicago says that it should be "Geek" (15th ed, para 8.41). On the other hand, if it's a class distinction or a physical characteristic (former: unlikely, latter: more like mental than physical), it should be lowercase.


Oh, and does "anal rententive" have a hyphen? ;-)

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