It takes more to be a geek today

Are you a geek? If so, Don Reisinger thinks you deserve a special acknowledgment, since it's so hard to achieve that stature today.

Nintendo Wii
Welcome to the mainstream, Geeks. Nintendo

Over the past few years, I've been amazed at the attention the tech industry has received in the single realm that some thought it wasn't fit for--the mainstream.

The video game industry has become a multibillion dollar industry that rivals film. The Nintendo Wii is being played by people aged 1 to 100. The iPhone has transformed the cell phone industry. The Amazon Kindle, a device that some believed was a niche product, is selling faster than even Amazon expected . And everywhere you turn, someone who you thought had little knowledge about computers is discussing the differences between a Mac and PC.

But it's not just hardware. Sites like Facebook and MySpace are attracting millions of people to their pages each month . And celebrities--the leaders of the mainstream--have recently made Twitter, once a destination for the geek, almost a household name.

Most of those products were once reserved for the "Geek." But now, the mainstream has entered the Geekdom, and conquered it. It's getting harder to find a real geek.

So, I guess it's time we re-evaluate our Geekdom. What does it take to be a geek today?

If you're programming in Ruby, you're a geek. If you get excited to jailbreak your iPhone, you're a geek. If you want to build your PC from scratch, you're a geek. If you spend time hacking into a network, you're a geek. If you're trying to run Linux on your digital camera, you're a geek.

But if you have a real interest in technology, you're not necessarily a geek anymore. Sales figures and pop culture have shown that cool tech has a place in the mainstream. Technology's appeal to that mainstream is relentless. More and more people will find a love for gadgetry and the Web. And in the process, the number of geeks will dwindle.

I remember a time when it was easy to be a geek. All you had to do was have an interest in technology and know a lot about it. Today, being a geek takes real work. But for many of us, being a part of the mainstream justifies what we've been saying for years: tech really is cool.

We told you so.

Check out Don's Digital Home podcast, Twitter stream, and FriendFeed.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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