Every time I hear someone refer to a geek as a nerd, I cringe. To me, the differences between geeks and nerds are so obvious, and I don’t know how so many people can be so confused about it. Of course, that is assuming my definition of each one is correct, which could be flawed logic. It seems like every time we write an article about the differences between geeks and nerds, it starts a debate about why it’s right or wrong. This time though, the answers are based on real Twitter research.
It seems that burrsettles at SlackPropagation wanted to get to the bottom of this once and for all. He decided to do some Twitter research about it, and his conclusions are quite interesting. He analyzed 2.6 million tweets from the streaming API between December 6, 2012 and January 3, 2013. He also evaluated tweets from the search API that matched the words geek and nerd. Six months later (now), he finally crunched the numbers to come up with the answers he was looking for.
The results of his Twitter research can be seen in the chart below. I wish there was a larger version of this so you could see it better, but this will have to do. I hope you will click over to his site to read the corresponding text for the details on this, but in a nutshell, he found this to be true…
Collections are geeky. Academic fields are nerdy. Science and technology are very different. Both geeks and nerds are brainy, but the word ‘intelligence’ is geeky, and the word ‘intellectual’ is nerdy. Even though books are nerdy, ebooks and ibooks are geeky.
In conclusion, burrsettles wrote this about his Twitter research, “In broad strokes, it seems to me that geeky words are more about stuff, while nerdy words are more about ideas…Plus, they aren’t two distinct personalities as much as different aspects of personality.” So, now that you know all this, which one are you? I’m still a geek.