I’m an equal opportunity geek. I don’t just love books and Star Wars and the amazing abilities of comic book characters.
I also, once upon a time, worked on Capitol Hill as a political staffer, and then later for a nonprofit doing a little bit of everything when it came to teaching young women the ins and outs of politics and how to run for office.
So this past week was kind of like my Super Bowl.
Yes, I’m one of those ubernerds who watches the State of the Union address like a sporting event.
When I lived in DC, I went to watch-parties with other political staffers, and we sat around critiquing everything from the political jargon to the ties worn by Members of Congress.
Don’t get me wrong: I still do that.
But now it’s on my couch, laptop in lap, and my friends at my fingertips via chat programs and Twitter instead of sitting at a bar or around someone’s television.
I wondered, as I tweeted my way through the President’s speech, whether I came off as an uppity-political snob or if you could tell, outside of my fairly regular use of the #formerstaffer hashtag, that I used to work in the business.
I also wondered whether the people I interact with most on the social media forums around the web would notice my tweets, stop and go “Huh? Why is she tweeting about politics?”
This goes back to what I said above.
I’m an equal opportunity geek.
I see the occasional infographic that compares “geeks” to “nerds” and I hear the debates around the blogosphere that geeks are this kind of person while nerds are something else all together. But I have to ask myself, “Why?”
Why does it matter which particular nickname you classify yourself as? I know the nerd/geek label has many negative connotations with it for people my age. Most stem from taunts and teasing throughout primary and high school, and some people are so scarred from the bullying they lived through while running the gauntlet that is the American education system that they will never see the term “nerd” or “geek” as anything but derogatory no matter which hot celebrity is being called King or Queen of the Geeks this year. It will always trigger near-PTSD reactions and memories of wedgies, tripping and general humiliation.
I wear the geek label with a point of pride. I’ve always been a bookworm. (No really: I used to pretend I could read to myself when I was little because I wanted to know how so badly.) I’ve always loved stories and adventures which is probably what drew me into the most common “geek” fandoms that explore super hero culture, comic books, science fiction and magic.
But I also claim the nerd label. I liked school. I was really good at it. Give me a homework schedule and goals to reach for, and I am a seriously happy camper. Tell me I’m awesome for spelling that word right! PUT A STICKER ON MY MATH QUIZ! Stickers are awesome.
So whether I’m geeking out by texting my soon-to-be roommate to see if I should bring both Star Wars and Indiana Jones or if Star Wars alone is enough, or making my shopping list to take the comic store on Saturday, you can bet that behavior is mixed with a solid dose of nerding out over details in political speeches and analyzing the number of minutes the speech writers put between talking about redistributing some military funding and talking about taking care of the men and women who serve our country at home and abroad (it was roughly 30 minutes, btw).
I’m passionate about the things I love and passionate about the causes, ideas and movements that I care about. That’s why my tweets, blogs and tumbl’s run the gamut from bookshelves and cute kittens to Star Wars jokes to nonprofit causes. It makes me the equal opportunity geek I am! I hope you’re passionate about something too.