Geek or Nerd

A couple of months ago I got into a discussion with a friend who was trying to determine the difference between a geek and a nerd.  So while I proudly claim both monikers as my own, here is my description of both and how they pertain to me.

Geek – A geek is someone who is passionate about something to the point that they study it intensely.  For these people there is simply no end to the amount of knowledge they can have on their subject(s) of passion.  Do you know someone who could quote the all the Star Wars movies in their sleep?  How about someone that lives and breaths D&D and can provide any given rule at a moment’s notice.  Or even someone who knows every stat on their favorite sports players.  All of these people are geeks!!

Nerd – A nerd is someone who has a general thirst for knowledge.  They want to learn and do so at any given opportunity.  They enjoy the random article feature on Wikipedia just for the sake of new knowledge.  They not only ask questions but go and read until they find the answer.  Documentaries and history shows are their favorite programs.  Hermione is the epitome of a nerd, her thirst for knowledge knows no bounds.  Do you know someone that reads text books for fun?  Someone who reads everything they can get their hands on?  Who assigns themselves subjects to do reports on?  All of these people are nerds!!

So the main difference is that a Geek focuses on a subject or handful of subjects, while a nerd simply wants to learn everything they can about everything.  The other difference is that a nerd is more likely to only pull out their knowledge as needed, while a geek will happily jump up on their chosen soap box and pontificate on their given subject(s) for hours on end.

I am a geek when it comes to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  We are heading there again this December and I can’t wait to make my 8th visit there.  I could go on and on about everything there, but I will save that for another post.  There are plenty of gamer type things to write about, probably more than you guessed.

I am also a nerd.  I used the cash my grandma gave me for my 18th birthday to buy my own copy of the Calculus text book we used in high school such it was so well written.  When I was a kid I would assign myself subjects to study over the summer, such as owl pellets, Norway, or ice skating.  In fact I taught myself Calculus I the summer before my senior year in college.  I have tutored several people in math because I enjoy algebra the way people do crossword puzzles (which I also enjoy).   This is a lot of why I could be successful getting my bachelors degree through Portland State’s online program.

Hopefully this helps some to clear up any confusion you might have on the words nerd and geek.  It should also put me clearly in the nerd category with a touch of geek, a position I have learned to be proud of over the years.  So where do you fall on the spectrum, and if you are a geek what are your topics, if you are a nerd what proves that?