The “Geek” is dead…the rise of the “Buzzer”

Ever since somebody first decided that “Geeks” were cool I’ve had to explain what the term actually means to people. People think that being a “Geek” is about slavishly following the goings on of large technology companies (and referring to these as “tech” companies and the latest “gadge” they have produced). People think that this term, like the term “nerd”, is about doing things that they don’t understand. It has long been used as a derogatory term but these days people use it ironically or to make themselves seem better at something than they actually are. I’m afraid that while I used to think that the term “Geek”, as I understood it, held a meaning that was appropriate to me it no longer does.

For me the “Geeks” at school – and in life – were the people who didn’t “follow their dreams” or “be all they could be”, they were the ones who excelled at things that other people had to be forced to do (think studying mathematics in your spare time or contemplating solutions to computer code problems). For me the obsession wasn’t born 0ut of having the nicest or shiniest thing – it was about making the nicest or shiniest thing, even if you never showed to anyone – especially if you never showed it to anyone. It was about doing what you wanted because you enjoyed doing it. For instance I have always enjoyed writing code for computers – ever since my dad bought our first C64 and I used to use the built-in BASIC interpreter to make shapes appear on the screen – through using BBC micros at school – through to using VB3 on the school computers in my spare time because there weren’t any teachers with enough knowledge of programming to teach us any. We did IT of course but as anyone who has sat through that knows, it is not fit for purpose unless you didn’t know that Windows came with a drawing program called Paint.

So I think it’s time to remove the word geek from my self description it’s overused by people who don’t understand the meaning- call me something else (preferably not involving the words “tech” or “gadge” – don’t get me started on those) – Mark Pearl considered the usage of the term Fizz Buzz to identify oneself as an engineer “in the know” perhaps we could use something like this. Something that identifies other people who care more about the journey than where it takes them to other people who feel the same way. How about the term “Buzzer” short for “Fizz Buzzer”? I think this would be an adequate term for somebody who would stop to solve an arbitrary maths problem just because they know they’re going to do it in their heads later anyway so you might as well do it now. (I feel this would be an adequate gauge of suitability)

So there it is – I no longer want to be a “Geek” or a “Nerd” – I don’t want to be held to that ridiculous stereotype of high trousers and thick glasses – the trendies killed it when they made it a fashion thing – I can’t even bring myself to write the word “chic” next to the word “geek”! I propose “Buzzer” – it won’t last forever but there’ll be something else by then.

P.S. If  you can think of a better term then please leave a comment – I’ll edit the post to reflect them or if there’s enough we can all vote on it and discuss it for ever and branch the term until there’s no idea of the original concept 😉

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