A friend of mine identifies as a geek; he even worked for the Geek Squad for a while.
But some seem the term as derogatory – particularly if going by dictionary definitions. Google’s dictionary defines a geek as “an unfashionable or socially inept person” with a secondary meaning of “a person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest: “a computer geek” “.
Whilst my friend self-describes as a computer geek, he’s definitely not socially inept or particularly unfashionable. He loves computers, but he’s not devoted. He’s reclaimed the word “geek” and isn’t alone:
The Geeks say they have reappropriated the term, and it no longer has a negative connotation. “Personally, I have no problem identifying myself as a geek girl, geek, nerd, dork, etc,” writes Jill Pantozi on The Mary Sue (a site that describes itself as “A Guide to Girl Geek Culture”) pointing to a survey that shows all the ways geeks are positively viewed. Some of the findings: 51 percent of Americans surveyed consider geeks professionally successful; 54 percent find them extremely intelligent with perceptions of social awkwardness much lower down. “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 Jack Cullen, president of Modis, which sponsored the survey. “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,” he continued. (Source: The Atlantic)
Seems it’s long past time for dictionaries to catch up: Geeks are cool!