Apparently I’m not a geek

According to How geeky are you? I’m only 15% geek. That seems right.

I fail as a geek because I don’t like science fiction or other geek entertainment.

Despite 30 years of writing about technology, geek culture hasn’t rubbed off on me.

I’m not comfortable when I’m with other technology journalists who want to talk about Star Trek or Dungeons and Dragons.

To say these things don’t interest me is an understatement.

We have science fiction books on our shelves at home. People who come to our house assume they are mine. They are not. They belong to Mrs B. And apart from her reading tastes, she is even less geeky than me.

Most of the points I scored on the geek test come from work. After all that time writing about computers, I know the difference between a Rom and a Ram.

Of course I have more than one dictionary – they are tools of my trade. And yes, I confess I correct people’s grammar. Editing has been my job for most of my adult life.

In the past people have commented about my non-geek status making me the wrong person to edit a computer magazine or write about technology. I disagree. Detachment means I can make better rational decisions. I’m less tempted to air my prejudices.

I’m a journalist first, technology specialist second. I can – and have – written about most subjects.

And anyway, most of my work has been writing for non-geek audiences. My lack of geekiness means I can better serve their needs.

7 thoughts on “Apparently I’m not a geek

  1. Of course, the $64,000 question then is: what drew you to writing about technology? I’d bet some other journos might say that they were articulate geeks who found their calling in writing about technology. (If those other tech writers are stuck with non-tecchie writers at the office, they probably see events as a chance to wave their geek flag!)
    Anyway, if you’re writing for the geek crowd, it’d certainly help to know the lingo (take a look at all the pop-culture references in Boing Boing or Tech Crunch), but for the everyman, no, you don’t need to be into it at all.

    • The job found me.

      I was looking for my first real job as a journalist after working on student newspapers and selling a few stories to regional and local papers. It was the first time I found I had an aptitude for something.

      Having a science degree meant I was taken seriously by the publisher of a computer magazine and had difficulty getting through the door at other titles.

      Oh, that and the fact I spent six months after graduation as a computer engineer.

      • My science degree explains why I know pi to more than two decimal places 🙂

  2. Do you mean Geek or geek?

    I’d suggest that one is a “template lifestyle” (like being a goth or bogan) and the other implies a high level of technical skills and competence.

    There are plenty of people in the Geek community who couldn’t program a computer if their life depended on it, and whose architectural knowledge is limited to “M$ is evil, but I can’t run WoW on anything else”.

    Journalism? Well I guess that in the good old days when multiple people wrote a paper, it would be good to have people who had different strengths and knowledge areas.

    • Good question.

      I’m definitely not Geek.

      As for geek? I’ve never got on top of programming despite being taught courses at school and university. Mind you, I hacked the .php and css on this site to make it look the way I want.

      I can use a soldering iron, but that’s probably more engineer than geek. Unless the two amount to the same thing.

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