I hate the word “geek”

[I wrote this approximately 2007. I originally had this as one of my thoughts about tech on my main harrywood.co.uk ‘tech’ section. Now demoting it to the blog archive]

In a world of ‘geeks’ and ‘normal people’, I never want to be thought of as a geek. It reduces my chances of getting laid. But this is not the only reason I hate the word. I hate the separation that the word implies. I can’t deny that this separation exists, but really there shouldn’t be ‘geeks’ and ‘normal people’. We should all learn to live and work with technology together. If some people are learning slower than others, or getting left behind, then we should pick them up and help them along. That’s my ideology, and I try reflect this in the way I work.

But it doesn’t surprise me that some technologists embrace the word ‘geek’, and actually wear the label proudly. As someone who has taken the time to learn a lot about computers, I know it is possible to develop a superiority complex; to see yourself in an ivory tower, or a member of an elite club. I think many I.T. people fall into this mindset, and take it too far. They just love to type gobbledygook unix commands, or work on files full of unintelligible code, so that if anyone should look over their shoulder, they would have no idea what the guy is doing, and would have to conclude that this guy is smart. I’ll admit to getting a little buzz from this myself on occasions, but I try to be motivated by the opposite desire, to help make technology less of a barrier, less mysterious, less geeky.

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