Monthly Archives: December 2010

Hidden in Plain Site

My posts may be rubbish, but on the off chance that they are nuggets of pure wisdom, what happens when no one sees them?

This had previously led me to think about witholding a very good (ahem, in my opinion) post because it wouldn’t be well read.

This Atlantic article reminded me of how poorly I can think at times. The article takes a good look at the propagation of content on the web and the simultaneous rise in status of people along with their newly discovered but previously written posts. It focuses on Aaron Bady and his blog zunguzungu, but also notes several other individuals who have been through a similar rise to prominence.

The bottom line from the article is summarized by this quote:

…it shows that in today’s media landscape, an act of journalism can spread quickly to the very highest levels of the culture and news industry, no matter where it comes from.

Isn’t that energizing! It does more to perk me up than 10 cups of coffee, plus 10 cups of coffee makes me dizzy and nauseous.

What I take from that quote and article in a broader sense is that our world is becoming more of a meritocracy than it has ever been before and that gives me great optimism about the future of humanity. This is a theme that I think has been echoed for sometime online including another great article recently about the rise of a sports blogger.

So not only is the web and the blogging community a huge meritocracy, it is also a place where discovery is more likely to occur due to the permanence of content on the Internet.

As an American, and an entrepreneur who has had his foot in the publishing door for sometime now, I am re-energized and truly excited about the possibilities of online publishing, a long overdue epiphany. It’s good to be practicing what I preach.

(Post Script)

I do realize that my title is a wee bit too punny, but something about running an online paper for a few years compels me to pun-ify my titles. I may be hanging around too many journalists.

Nomenclature: Geeks Vs. Nerds vs. Dorks

Everybody uses these terms.

People use them interchangeably.

But in my mind they have distinct meanings.

First of all what unites them is that they all are subcategories of the greater category of social ineptness. All three terms have that common trait, some to a greater degree. But that is where the commonality ends.

Geeks are simply people who are defined by their obsession with particular activity, to the point where it causes harm to a more balanced social life. Nothing about being a geek means someone is inherently intelligent, nor are their pursuits generally intellectual in nature.

Nerds are a close relative of geeks, to make a geeky reference, nerds are to geeks, as Vulcans are to Romulans (if you are a male that wants to have sex, please don’t repeat that phrase unless you are at an event that ends in -con). But seriously folks, nerds by my definition are people that are extremely curious and spend much of their time excessively exploring an intellectual pursuit. In my mind an appropriate synonym would be a bookworm.

In summary so far, you would definitely want to cheat off a nerd’s exam in high school, but not a geek’s. If you were a stereotypical high school bully you want to punch both, which you could accomplish by going to the library. The former would be reading a book about the latest IEEE specification (look it up non-engineers), while the latter would be holding a 20 sided die, playing D&D.

And last (and also least) onward to dorkiness…

A simple definition of a dork is someone who is goofy, silly or quirky. An example of a dork might be the most socially inept person in an otherwise popular group of people. They may say inappropriate things, make bad or odd attempts at humor, but still have affable personalities. They like being social, they just suck at it. Dorks are also people who do not specialize in one particular activity. The other interesting thing about the term “dork” is that it is used more often to describe a type of activity as opposed to holistically labeling a person.

More recently, the terms “geek” and “nerd” have gained increasingly positive connotations, and have thus become more popular and a part of the mainstream, with the term “geek” becoming the most popular. There are now many variants of the term that have found their way into pop culture, such as the term “geek chic” referring to geeky clothing styles being incorporated into hip clothing brands and trends. But really the term has blossomed into describing a person as having a real passion for a particular activity. For instance phrases like, “I’m a real photography geek,” have come to mean that a person is passionate about a hobby but perhaps not a master of that hobby yet.

This is simply my take based on my generational and cultural influences. As with any word there can be many interpretations or connotations that vary by region and by person. I’d love to update this post, or write another in the future based on other people’s thoughts on the subject.