Ever since “Revenge of the Nerds”, the media has had a very crystallized view of the computer geek. Most of the time, it’s unflattering as well. While geeks aren’t quite even with other minorities in standing up to the negative press, signs are out there that that day could come soon. You can get a jump-start: promote the better understanding of those who are handier with technology by countering these myths with the truth:
* Geeks never get a date. A whole generation of computer science graduates have grown up to have kids of their own by now. In fact, a new wave of perceiving geeks as the best quality mates has arisen. Try Googling “dating a geek”. Geeks are now said to be the ideal spouse – faithful, stable, better at communication, more fun to be with, more knowledgeable, and, what with the world’s global market in technology jobs on a boom, bringing home a better paycheck!
* Geeks are all male. While there is, indeed, still a mysterious shortage of females in the IT job market, women have proven themselves to be every bit as able with technology as men. In fact, studies have shown that women make up a majority of Internet users! And any geek who has a large family can tell you that mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters pick up computers just as quickly – it’s just a matter of having somebody around who can set a good example. Be they male or female, a geek in the household will soon make at least a computer-literate person out of every member of the household.
* Geeks are all kids living in their parent’s basement. That made sense back in 1990. Seventeen years later, these same kids have grown up to found technology start-ups, and have kids of their own. This is no longer a niche interest – geeks can meet their peers at the coffee shop, the park, or at school picking up their kids.
* Geeks are too involved with ‘virtual reality’. OK, maybe we do spend a lot of time with our head in cyberspace. But rest assured, we can tell the difference between a chat bot and a real person, Medieval-themed role-playing-games and history, a first-person shooter game and a stroll through the mall, and the Matrix and real life. We’re not taking it all nearly as seriously as some of you seem to think we are.
* Geeks are out of shape. You would think so, since interacting with a computer requires you to at least sit still. However, most geeks in fact are as conscientious about their body as they are about their computer. As Eric S. Raymond himself has noted, geeks actually tend to eat healthier diets with a wider variety, and also tend to enjoy exercise and even sport – especially martial arts or self-competitive ones like hiking or mountain-climbing. You can always bring your laptop with you!
* Geeks look down on non-geeks as inferiors. This is the worst lie of all! If you catch anyone out there insulting your honest question, making fun of you for not knowing something, or dismissing you as a “n00b”, you are welcome to have the last laugh – that person is just putting up a front to compensate for actually being 1000 times stupider than you are! Real geeks are fast to help and offer advice, and are understanding of people who don’t know as much about computers. They honestly want to help! The sooner they get everyone else up to speed, the sooner the rest of the world will understand them. Furthermore, every geek you will ever meet was once “clueless” and uneducated – nobody but nobody learns about computers on their own!
And yes, thank you, I’ll join the nearest “geek pride” parade just as soon as they organize one in my area!
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