Previously on Our Multimedia Culture… Gospel X, our intrepid author who claims he is too busy to regularly update the blog, decided to no longer include himself among those who call themselves geeks and nerds. He decided it was more important to focus on the things we like than the labels we use for ourselves. Isn’t that the point?
It’s been two and a half years since I wrote about no longer throwing in with the geeks, nerds and otaku. For the most part, it has been a very smooth road. It was surprisingly easy to navigate this identify, even when trying to put myself way out in the open to draw in others with similar interests. I created a group on Meetup that didn’t necessarily have to do with the labeled cultures, but those most interested all called themselves geeks. The trick was to create a group that appealed to them but didn’t use the label. I chose enthusiasts. It was regarded as a mere idiosyncrasy of mine, and no one asked why I didn’t just call it a geek group. And no one asked why I didn’t identify as such.
Unfortunately, in retrospect, I realize I just inserted one label for another. What’s the difference between enthusiast and geek in this context? Granted, I never said I was an enthusiast, but it doesn’t matter. One word for another.
Another issue is that in the associated keywords I chose included “geek culture”. It’s hard to win sometimes.
It’s also hard to win when you do admit that you no longer use the label and are questioned about it. I’ve learned this very recently thanks to the online communities I frequent. Discussion on the matter leads to being backed into a corner with the implication of your using us and them language. And people aren’t wrong, especially when I say something along the lines, “I don’t want to be associated with geeks because of such-and-such.” It’s a difficult situation to be in and one I need to learn how to navigate better. It’s important to realize that when people self-identify so strongly with an identity that makes them feel like they truly belong, it offends them to hear that you want nothing to do with it based on people they feel are on the fringes of their culture.