Tuesday, July 9

Are You a Nerd or a Geek? (A Guide)

Times change, people change.”

This is a Proverb in English which means that as time passes by, some things before that were not acceptable to society become accepted.

If you’d like to read more about Proverbs, just click:

In the Past

I remember that the world was very simple when I was young. Every time I watched American movies and TV series, I always saw two groups:

(1) Jocks

(2) Nerds

The line between these 2 groups was very clear. Especially when you watched TV shows or films about American high school life, you would see 2 characters fighting because they belong to these 2 groups.

This photo by Kate Ware is available at <a ref="http://www.flickr.com/photos/katewares/7140758187/ ">under a <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ph/"> Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0

Of course these are just stereotypes* and it’s not good to think of a person as being 100% pure Jock or pure Nerd only.

*stereotype = a very simple idea about a type of person

Anyway, Jocks are big and strong; but stupid. They are very athletic so they are members of the school sports team – in America, usually football. They tend to be bullies and they always beat up the Nerds.

Nerds are very smart but shy. They are small and physically weak.  They wear very thick glasses (slang: coke bottle glasses) and they always carry a lot of books.

This Nerd is bigger than usual.
image courtesy of stock.xchng

As you can imagine, it’s not a good thing to be a Nerd. They’re the losers and they always get hit by the Jocks. They don’t have many friends.

In the movies, the Nerd usually wins and the Jock is the bad guy. The story ends happily with the Nerd beating the Jock or turning him into a friend. Sometimes, the Nerd even wins the leading girl in the story.

But the indirect message in all these shows, the background reality is that Nerds are not popular while Jocks are. In the real society, Nerds are outcasts. Worse, the fact is that bullying is a very real and serious part of school life.

In Korea, they have what they call “wang-tas.” And in Japan, two years ago, a 13-year-old boy from Otsu, Shiga Prefecture committed suicide after being forced to “practice” taking his own life every day. The case, after being ignored for some time, caused a public outcry both in Japan and abroad.

These days, campaigns against bullying are widespread.  And I would say that people accept different individuals more.

The Modern Nerd

These days, if you’re still narrow-minded about Nerds or similar people, your life is going to be hard. Because of advances in technology, the way people live their lives has also greatly changed. And now, there are more Nerds or “nerdy” people than there ever were. They show their real character more openly. They’re not afraid or shy, which means that society has partly changed its view of them.

In fact, I think almost everybody in the world has turned into a nerdy person one way or another. Because there’s not only one Nerd now, but there are different types of it.

Now it’s not “Jocks vs. Nerds,” but “Geeks vs. Nerds.” 

What’s the difference between the two?

image via Daily Infographic 



A Nerd prefers academic subjects like math and science.


Nerd fashion hasn’t changed much over time. A Nerd will stick to his very conservative taste: slacks, a shirt that he buttons all the way up to the collar and with a black pen, a red pen, and a blue pen in the pocket, formal shoes, and thick (coke bottle glasses).


A Nerd can be a scientist at NASA, an engineer, computer programmer (anyway higher than a Geek) ex. Bill Gates, a university professor, inventor etc.

Social Life 

A Nerd prefers to be alone. He is socially awkward and less talkative than a Geek. When a Nerd talks, he likes to use specialized terms that are unfamiliar to other people.



In general, a Geek has a specific niche*.

*niche = a job or activity that somebody is good at and is very suitable for him

Sure, a Geek may have many different interests, but there’s always one that he loves above everything else. In fact, you may say that he has an obsession over that hobby or activity, because he tries to increase his knowledge about it to an expert level. Also, he builds a whole lifestyle around his interest. 

Geeks first became more popular and necessary in our lives together with the advance of technology. This is why you have Computer Geeks and Internet Geeks originally. But “geekiness(the quality of being a Geek) has long expanded outside the field of technology. It’s more mainstream now and includes so many different sub-types:

For example,

Tech Geek = they are a fan of Apple products, SNS (Social Networking Service), and blogging

Book Geek = likes to read fantasy books like Harry Potter, Narnia, Lord of the Rings etc.

Music Geek = listens to all sorts of bands that nobody else knows 

Film Geek = they usually like the genres of Sci-Fi and Horror, and may follow a particular movie director

Video Game Geek = they spend a lot of time playing World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game)

Girl Geek = may be a real geek or just a girl pretending to be a geek by wearing fake glasses. Most girls know that glasses can make them look smart, sexy, cute, and not easy.

Manga Geek = a lover of Japanese comic books, originally from Japan but now everywhere in the world

Otaku = also originally from Japan, a lover of Japanese animé, which might include cosplaying and almost everything “Japanesy.”

image courtesy of stock.xchng

Others = wine geek, car geek, food geek, Glee geek, camera geek etc.


A Geek likes to collect stuff, whether it’s a gadget like a smartphone or an iPad. And since they are also hardcore fans, they collect even more stuff.

For example, in terms of fashion, a Geek also wants his clothes to mirror his interests. That’s why (like the character Sheldon Cooper in the TV series “The Big Bang Theory”) he usually wears sneakers, jeans, and a T-shirt. The T-shirt is printed with a character or symbol from a cartoon or movie.


You can find many Geeks in IT (Information Technology) jobs. But they’re not only there. Geeks are also very artistic. So they can be web designers, graphic artists, game designers, writers, animators, coffee baristas, etc.

This is because Geeks like to enjoy work in the field of their interest.

Social Life

Geeks are generally more sociable than Nerds. But when a conversation is started about their special “niche,” they can become very insensitive by talking non-stop. Without realizing it, they will say things that are unfamiliar and uninteresting to other people.

Nerds and Geeks: 
What Do They Have in Common?

According to a scientific study conducted by a software engineer, although Nerds and Geeks have their differences, there also some things that they share:

1. Zombie Apocalypse

2. books

3. Doctor Who

4. computers

5. Lord of the Rings

And since these interests are in the middle, it is safe to guess that these can also be part of the mainstream / normal crowd.

So, what are you? A Nerd or a Geek?

Keep on learning !

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