Ask [GaS]: What Does “Geek” Mean to You?

On Wednesday, I am headed out to Boston for PAX East. One of the panels I’m speaking on is with my husband and Ethan Gilsdorf, author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks (a must read for geeks of the fantasy/gaming contingent… as if you couldn’t deduce that from the title alone). Our panel is about geekdom in general and how the term “geek” has changed over the last few decade; it’s called “Geek is no longer a four-letter word” (3pm, Wyvern Theater, on Sunday).

So you can imagine that I’ve been thinking a great deal about what the term “geek” means to me, and how it’s defined my own existence. I never would have anticipated that being a self identified geek would have landed me so many writing gigs. In fact, my whole blogging “career” is successful because I’m a geek (the blogs I most often write for, in fact, both have the word geek in their titles).

Personally, I didn’t realize I was much of a geek — at least I didn’t put that word to it — until college. The Internet put me in contact with geeks all over the world, and as such I became part of the geek movement itself. Now, I proudly call myself a geek even if my mother hates it when I do!

But that’s part of it, isn’t it? The term itself has a very different meaning to us now. For my mother’s generation, a geek is someone antisocial, somewhat awkward, and probably unattractive! All things that don’t necessarily apply any longer.

So I’m appealing to you, readers. What do you think defines you as a geek? Do you still struggle against negative perceptions of the term? Do you think there is a lessening of geekdom itself as it becomes mainstream? Do you think it’s easier to be a geek than it used to be? Any other observations about geekery in general? What’s the geek perception like in your country? Now’s the time to sound off!

I promise to give credit to replies, of course, but I thought it might be a good idea to take a pulse of current thoughts on the subject before I start espousing my own thoughts!

And if you happen to be attending PAX East, come by and say hi!

[Picture source: Flickr (CC)]

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