Geeks are evolving as technology spreads into every corner of the globe. Today's geeks are not confined to the stereo types of their predecessors. Many now have a lot more to aspire to than the intellectually great, but socially and physically inept 'Uber Geek' status. Now we are seeing a new type of geek, one that keeps in good physical shape, one that has a healthy sex life, one that has a social life outside that of IT circles, and who doesn't feel inclined to grow a beard. Yes here is the dawn of the Athleek, and they've got the uber geeks worried...
The name 'Athleek' had been floating around and coined by many as geeks, uber geeks and regular people alike tried to find a word to define what they were seeing. The systems administrators that were lapping them on the track, the web designers splashing past them at the pool and the programmers that were kicking their ass at kickboxing. This isn't how geeks were supposed to be behaving. The stereotypical pasty faced scrawny programmer, or the fat bearded sysadmin doesn't apply to this new breed.
Uber geeks aren't happy about this, nor are athletic types, and it's easy to see why. Both pride themselves on their skills in their field. Uber geeks feel they are superior to most as they pride themselves on intellect, seeing others, particularly athletic types as stupid and inferior. Athletic types laugh at geeks and uber geeks for their clumsiness and lack of physical ability at sport and social interaction. But what about these new Athleeks? Brains and skill, a seemingly perfect combination. Athleeks can inspire geeks that they can have a future other than aspiring to 'uber geek' status, that a healthy sex life is a possibility even if they are good at IT.
But Athleeks will never be accepted by uber geeks. In fact they are usually quickly hated by uber geeks as such envious abilities on and off the computer aren't great for winning uber geek friends. Athleeks don't just pose a threat to the uber geeks status in the IT industry, but to their very jobs. Employers are realising that having healthy IT staff that are physically active are much more productive, less prone to illness and depression, are generally happier and easier to work with. I personally will not employ any staff that are not physically active.
Respected by some for IT abilities, the uber geek is a strange and often unpleasant creature. Generally quiet and relatively polite in the real world, with forced smiles and tongue biting. In the virtual world that they feel is their own, their true and often unpleasant colours shine through. Suddenly you find yourself being sweared at, ridiculed, threatened and called a variety unpleasant things. Seems all those years of being bullied at school are not forgotten and haven't been dealt with properly. This quiet IT guy at work has a blog where he is slagging off everyone at work with swearing and bad language, that for some reason makes him feel empowered online. In the real world they wouldn't say such things to your face for fear (quite rightly so) of receiving a broken nose.
So this somewhat temperamental beast has a new competitor, and it seems that many are marking Athleeks their sworn enemy. I've come across many different IT groups and communities, both with their varying numbers of uber geeks and athleeks. It seems that for now the Uber Geeks are mostly in control, but things are changing.
So what about the geeks? They are young with a love for IT, but do they want to walk the stereotypical path to uberness? Say goodbye to a social life, goodbye to the opposite sex and start an unhealthy relationship with their laptop? Or do they want go out, find a sport they can be passionate about and look forward to the healthy sex life of the Athleek? I certainly know which way I would (and did) go. For those undecided geeks, the table below shows a side by side uber geek, Athleek comparison.
|Strong IT Knowledge and skills||Strong IT Knowledge and skills|
|Limited Social life||Varied social life|
|More prone to illness and depression||
Less prone to illness and depression
|Unfit and unhealthy||Fit and Healthy|
|Think talking about sex and relationships is immature||Capable of having adult conversations about sex|
|Think your not a proper IT guy without a beard||Know that having a beard has nothing to do with IT skills|
|Has a very limited sex life if any||Has a healthy sex life|
|Feels the need to swear and be abusive to people online||Talks to people online the same as they do in the real world|
By Lyle Hopkins