Worth a Thousand Words (Plus the Speed of Light in Parsecs per Month, Times Pi, Divided by Planck’s Constant, to the ith Power…)

Per Tim O’Reilly, on Twitter… To quote the site where he found it:

To all of you nerds and geeks who — like me — have been unfairly and inaccurately labeled “dorks,” only to then exhaustively explain the differences among the three to a more-than-skeptical offender, I say: You’re welcome.

The simple eloquence of colored circles…

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  1. This is interesting. I can clearly see, in less than a thousand words, that I am a geek.

    However, not in the old, biting heads off of chicken way. How did the old circus terminology come to stand for an obsessed brainiac?

  2. I’m probably flattering myself outrageously on the intelligence score, but I have aspirations toward nerddom. I’m really grateful that technology was left entirely out of it; by this schema, intelligence plus social ineptitude plus obsession with, say, the history of British naval battles in the Napoleonic wars would make me a fully qualified nerd.

  3. A facebook friend posted this the other day! I might be a geek close to the nerd line.

  4. rowena: You will laugh, maybe, when I tell you that your question about the etymology of the word “geek” — even before I finished reading your comment — sent me on a 20-minute research expedition. And then came back and finished reading the comment, and hit the phrase “obsessed brainiac.” I’ll tell ya, I’m laughing.

    Nance: I trust you’re kidding about the social ineptitude, right?

    Like you, I was pleased to see that this Venn diagram can translate easily to other eras and technological climes. It’s fun to wonder if, say, Ahab was a geek, nerd, or dork: clearly obsession was part of his picture, but was he socially inept? how intelligent was he? And then if we conclude he was a nerd, to put him in the same category as, oh, say, Bill Gates can be tremendously illuminating of both of them.

    marta: I think I oscillate among the four intersecting/overlapping areas. (And you thought you were indecisive. I can’t even decide what sort of neurotic I am.)

  5. I am disappointed that we don’t appear to have terms for what lies outside the overlaps.

    Those of us who are quite socially adept but not especially intelligent really, really, really want to know what we should call ourselves.

    And no, ‘obsessives’ isn’t good enough. You ‘intelligents’ are going to have to do better than that.

  6. Only nerds get the triple whammy — all three at once?

    I love this. I’ve been using the words all wrong.

    Clearly, I am a dork.

  7. That.

    I love people with too much time on their hands and access to Photoshop and the Internet. GOD, the world can be good when those things converge.

  8. Hey, Froog! I think those outside of the circles are…everyone else! Those who don’t look at these things anyway…

  9. Froog: Instead of punting, like cynth has done, I’ll give it a try…

    Intelligent, but not socially inept and not obsessive: brainiacs.

    Socially adept, but neither particularly intelligent nor obsessive: uh… goofballs?

    Obsessive by nature, not especially smart, but not lacking in social skills, either: diggers. (This one’s rather obscure. For some reason, I thought at once of Ursula Vernon’s Digger webcomic, starring a female wombat by that name. I can’t access the site from the day job, but have a distinct memory of a comic panel which features Digger starting and then continuing a long excavation, while thinking out loud: “Dig, dig, dig… dig… dig…”)

  10. Jules: Actually, I’m skeptical that this is the authoritative view — so don’t rush to conclude you’ve been wrong all along. I was just delighted to see that someone had put some time and thought and effort into sorting it all out!

    Darc: Yes to all that! In fact, our enthusiasm for those beautiful convergences is probably a whole subclass of symptoms that we are, in fact, dorks and/or nerds and/or geeks. :)

    cynth: Oh, take the coward’s way out why dontcha???

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