The Majority of Americans Believe that “Geek” is A Compliment
Lies Damned Lies
At least, according to the Opinion Research Corporation, who enacted a telephone survey of 1000 American adults on the general subject of the concept with a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.
As one might expect, however, there’s something of an age gap at work:
Two-thirds (66 percent) of Millennials (respondents aged 18-34) think being identified as a “geek” is a compliment, while only 39 percent of respondents aged 65 and older agree. The cultural shift in the way Americans perceive geeks is further evidenced by the findings that eight out of 10 (82 percent) respondents feel it is more acceptable to be a geek today than it was 15 years ago.
Other interesting findings of the survey include that the target of the word “geek” is most frequently considered to be extremely intelligent, a good source for advice about technology, and is frequently a person with the latest gadgets. But if you really want some fodder for your arguments about geeks in the mainstream, note this: 41% percent of ORC’s respondents said they’d rather be a geek than a jock, compared to 22% preferring otherwise.
Now that we’ve reclaimed “geek” however, there are still some issues to be ironed out. “Nerd,” for example, is apparently still derogative. 87% of self-identified geeks would rather be called a “geek” than a “nerd.” Oh, and 50% of the respondents still equate geekdom with being socially awkward. While I won’t deny my own social awkwardness, but maybe it’s something we can all agree to work on?
Oh! And happy Geek Pride Day!