They're here. They're geeks. Get used to it

17:00, May 27 2012
Scott Pilgrim vs The World
VERSUS THE WORLD: The rise of geek culture cannot be stopped, its infiltrated films (such as Scott Pilgrim vs The World), television and pretty much every facet of pop culture.

Turns out, geeks are inheriting the earth.

Thanks to ubiquitous consumer electronics and the prominence of technology executives like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs of Apple, it's no longer an insult to be called a geek.

The geek - broadly speaking, the tech-obsessed, socially-awkward type who spends more time online than offline - is more respected than ever, according to a survey by Modis, the technology staffing arm of Adecco SA, the world's biggest staffing company.

Around 51 percent of Americans now consider geeks professionally successful, up from 31 percent a year ago, Modis' annual "Geek Pride" survey found. More people also consider geeks to be extremely intelligent: 54 percent say so, up from 45 percent last year.

The survey is Modis' way of marking Geek Pride Day, held each year on May 25th, the anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars movie in 1977.

"When you talk about a geek, you used to think of the guy in the back of the room, pocket protector with a bunch of pens in it, the white shirt, the high pants, very socially inept," said Modis President Jack Cullen.


"Today, when I think of geeks, I think of Steve Jobs. One guy has redefined the geek concept. You could put Zuckerberg in the same category."

Pop culture has had a big hand in the mainstreaming of geek. Popular US television shows like The Big Bang Theory and Glee make geeks cool, while stories based on comic books, such as The Avengers, dominate the movies.

Much of the shift is generational.

"Millennials, every year, have more and more visibility and these are people who were born with technology," Cullen said. "For the millennials it's all about openness. 'Find me. I'm eating a taco right now.' It's such a different view of the world."

Millennials are people in their 20s and 30s who became adults around the turn of the millennium.

Once pejorative, the word "geek" is now synonymous with "aficionado".

"Dork," however, is still a negative, Cullen said.