Embracing my Geekiness

GeekTwice in so many days, someone commented on just how truly geeky I am. So I started thinking about Geek culture and what it means, where it came from. And how I became fortunate enough to be a part of it.

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of Geek is:

- Slang.
1. a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, esp. one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
2. a computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.)
3. a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.

The last one is my personal favourite.

Mostly because although Geeks are much more mainstream than they were in the early 90s (when I really was more of a dork than a geek), there's still a general divide between geeks and non-geeks.

I feel it when I'm at my hubby's work parties: there are the token folks who might know what I talk about when I open my mouth, even when I don't describe my website as "a dynamic web-app-driven website with a complex taxonomy running on an Oracle platform". Even trying to talk web in a very high-level gen-pub way, I realise that most people have no idea how sites and technology have evolved, how complex and incredible the technologies have become.

A lot of people I encounter still think that anyone can build a website (how many times have you heard: "I once built a website" or "I know a little HTML"). It's those moments when I realise that as mainstream as we are, we're still outside the norm. We're like wizards behind the curtain; except our smoke and mirrors are entirely CGI, baby!

One of my hubby's bosses once told me: "every time you open your mouth, it sounds like a SciFi (SyFy?) movie". I laughed but I knew exactly what she meant. The more I work and breathe the Internet, computers and SyFy SciFi, the more I forget that there are lots of people for whom the Internet is just Google (no offense to the mothership) and a few random websites. I'm not even a leading edge Geek; case in point: I just joined Twitter in January. But I embrace my Geekiness wholeheartedly; case in point: in 7 months, I've posted more than 2300 Tweets.

I found a great post on Stop Standing Still called the Geek Manifesto, which sums it up beautifully. I suggest you read the whole thing, but here's my favourite part:

"If you do not understand what we are doing, then you are not one of us, and so this is not for you."

I don't expect my non-techie friends to ever fully understand me or my culture (ha - that's funny, since I am from Quebec, where they insist on their own 'distinct-ness'). I've been very fortunate that I am surrounded by fantastic people who don't try to minimize what I do, don't stare at me with two heads when I geek out, love me for my geekiness and support it entirely. For that, I say, long live the non-Geeks. But the Geeks will still inherit the Earth ;)