Welcome to Geek Culture

In new blog, CNET News.com's Daniel Terdiman opines on the ascendance of the geek.

A camera ad that pays homage to geeks. Daniel Terdiman/CNET News.com

When I was in high school, all those years ago, being a nerd, or a geek, was a painful thing. We were the outcasts, the forgotten ones who couldn't get a date to save our lives, and for whom the future seemed certain to be a blur of solitary days and nights spent coding.

Over the years, as my lot in life improved, it occurred to me from time to time that I should go back to that school, take a few of these unfortunate souls aside, and give them the good news: Sure, today you're alone and miserable, but someday the world will be yours. Someday, those jocks who stuffed all those freshman boys in garbage cans and lockers or who laughed at the girls with big glasses and awkward hairstyles will be the ones writing out the insurance policies on your BMW.

But today, I don't have any need to go and deliver this message of hope. Today, the geeks are absolutely owning. If it's not a 21-year-old founding Facebook, it's a teenager figuring out how to untether an iPhone from AT&T's grasp and getting worldwide attention for it.

And don't get me started on how rich, famous and popular the Google guys are.

These days, in fact, geek men can even get dates. And lots of them. In my crowd, it's the guys with brains--not looks--who attract the most desirable women. If you can program Linux--and can carry on a conversation--I know a dozen women who would love to spend time with you.

And it definitely works the other way, too. Women like Violet Blue, Irina Slutsky, Xeni Jardin and others are waving the geek flag loudly and proudly, even as they surely must have to fend off an endless stream of suitors enamored of their understanding of tags and blogging and programming.

I'm not trying to say that the benefits accruing to being a geek today are all about love, money or popularity. Rather just that geeks now have a place in the world like never before and the culture that has sprung around us is exciting.

Basically, and if you're reading this you've probably already come to this conclusion, this is the best time ever to be a geek. Maybe it's because technology and mainstream culture are now married, where they used to be only the most formal of acquaintances.

Whatever the reasons, this blog is going to be a celebration of geeks and the culture that surrounds them. (I mean us.)

And what is "geek culture"? Well, it can be anything, and will be. LEGO communities? Check. Fire art collectives? Definitely. Video game and virtual-world developers? Natch. LOLCats, airplanes, Cirque du Soleil, Rubik's Cube, Google Earth, mashups, Segway polo and do-it-yourself anything and everything? Absolutement!

And if you're interested in any of those things, this blog is for you. I invite you to send me suggestions of things you'd like to see covered here, and I hope you will return again and again to see what trouble I'm getting into, and to join in the conversation.

Of course, this is not really new, for you or for me. I've been writing about geek culture for more than two years for CNET News.com, and this merely is the formal labeling of the beat.

 

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