Monday, January 30, 2012

The Representation of Geek Culture in Media

Recently I wrote a post about Bitcoin appearing in the good wife. This is somewhat uncommon, in the fact that it delves deeply into what many people would classify as the geekier side to tech culture.

But have things really changed? Are geeks and their interests better represented in mainstream media than they ever have been? Has the consumerisation of personal tech with iPads etc changed how people feel about tech?

The answer is probably "sometimes", because what it means to be a geek has really changed, and the vast majority of people have interests that could be classified as such.

Geekery is no longer playing computer games (everyone plays them, whether it's Farmville, Partypoker or Call of Duty), or surfing the internet at all hours. It's not about being into certain sci-fi TV or the "Math Club", because CSI and other shows have drawn in mainstream audiences into science geekery for some time now.

However, while classic geek topics are now the norm for many, it's not that hard to find characterisations of those with geeky interests that are made to look socially backward and weak, and therein lies the problem. The irony is that geeks are not like this; for the same reason any demographic does not contain a million copies of the same personality type.

People are just people, and there's no secret to creating geeky characters, because as time goes on, the word "geek" becomes increasingly irrelevant.

Doctor Who, Fringe, the iPhone, the Wii - how many of these things would we have tagged as geeky ten years ago, and how many of them are geeky now?

How many people are now classed as the "home IT support" person but dont (or didnt) identify themselves as "that guy" with the pocket protector who looks after the IT Systems at the office?


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