Survey Sunday Roundup: Hip to Be Geek?

So what did we say when we discussed geeks, hipness, and more?

1. It seems that from anime to "Big Bang Theory", from Steve Jobs to Gears of War, that Geek Is Chic. The question however – is it really?

  • 0.0% – Yeah, Geek is Chic. Took long enough.
  • 44.4% – Geek is Chic, but in a limited way, don't assume that it's truly mainstream.   
  • 0.0% – Nah, this is just a phase of culture.
  • 33.3% – Geek isn't Chic. In fact it's a bit worse due to media prominence.
  • 0.0% – It's actually worse, but no one noticed.
  • 22.2% – None of this fits, so in the "Other Comments" space I'm going to let you have it with a faceful of truth.

And the comments?

  • Aspects are, and it's more accepted, not sure it's really understood.
  • "Geek" has been broken up and rebranded. It used to mean "smart" and "uncool" (Think Steve Urkel). Now those two have been separated because in order to be cool, you have to be smart, because today it's a status symbol to have the newest phone or tablet. Adapting that quickly to new technologies takes brains (and money, which is why it's a status symbol).
  • It's the other way around. Chic is Geek. Notice how the only "geeks" who get attention are the well-groomed, financially-successful, moderately-socially-acceptable ones. The guys who live in ground-floor apartments and build computers out of other PC's spare parts are still invisible, and always will be in this realm.

A few thoughts from me:

  1. The idea that geek has gone through some redefinition and smart is cool is interesting since it's tied to status.
  2. I wonder how the above idea works with anti-intellectual currents in culture.

Next up . . .

2. What is the future of geeks in popular and larger culture?

  • 11.1% – They're going to be completely mainstream, as a kind of culture/subculture.
  • 22.2% – Geek culture is going to vanish into wider popular culture.   
  • 0.0% – Popular culture is going to vanish into geek culture.
  • 0.0% – Geek and popular culture will fuse.
  • 33.3% – Geek is Chic is a temporary thing, geeks will become unhip.
  • 22.2% – Geek will become almost a kind of alternate lifestyle as people fragment culturally.
  • 11.1% – Geeks will become more separate in culture due to their differences.

And comments?

  • See above: it'll be Geek Chic vs. Geek Real.

My own thoughts on this are that:

I don't see Geek as Chic reversing, but I can't see it entirely blending in for decades, so I see the subculture/side culture route as most likely.  However the one person that mentioned geeks becoming separate culture intrigues me as, in a world where specialized knowledge is important, I can see some technical subcultures evolving – which worries me.  I call this the "Adeptus Mechanicus" phenomena.

Any further thoughts?

Steven Savage