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KONK REACTOR column
[Published in the KONK Life newspaper on October 11, 2012.]
Historically, many have given little shrift to the nerds and geeks in their lives, preferring to focus social energy on things trendy or cozy. Why spend time with guys or gals who use funny words (like “ bit-mapped” or “pokemon” or “hot-swapable”) or do unfathomable work (like programming or engineering or “science”) or do strange activities (like cosplay, or MMO gaming or read comic books for god’s sake) when one can play ball or go clubbing or hang with the beautiful people?
But the world is changing. Partially lead by the popularity of Big Bang Theory on TV, people are beginning to be seduced by Nerd Culture. To some extent it’s even cool . . . but why? And where can one get a piece of it? Available space severely limits me to introducing only a few regions of the nerdosphere, but it’s a start.
The key is the Internet (or as nerds facetiously call it, “The Interwebs”), which of course is a product of us of the nerd nations. The rest of society has gradually caught up, but as long as they use it, they continuously receive a bit of nerd infection. Preceding and then paralleling the net was Star Trek, brining plausible science fiction reality to the masses. Going further, Star Wars and E.T. turned Sci-Fi into family entertainment. Also in parallel to all of that, advancement of video gaming took an active role, polishing our youth into neophyte nerds. And now with Big Bang Theory and the massive success of comic book movies, Nerdism is mainstream.
When seeking to ease into active participation in nerd society, the interwebs beacon. There are many sub-communities revolving around nerd music, art, science, performance, gaming, comics, computers, entertainment, writing, history – and much of life itself. Social media lets you lurk and jump in when you feel comfortable. Here are a few starting points….
Nerdy Show (nerdyshow.com) is a ramshackle catch-all of most of the sub-communities mentioned above. To quote their site, they’re the “#1 Nerd Podcast On The Net”. They’ve been active for several years (having started as a college radio show near Orlando) and include the most wacky (but enlightened) bunch of personalities you’ll encounter throughout nerddom. They expend tremendous energy providing education and entertainment on a shoe-string budget (relying on fans to help out in various ways). They also have a large community forum where anyone can jump in with questions or observations or just to show off. (I should probably warn that their podcasts are generally not something for younger kids to tune into – they can get a bit “salty” from time to time.)
Nerdapalooza (nerdapaooza.org) is an annual 3-day music festival in Orlando that brings out the gamut of genres of nerd-related music. The artists perform covers, variations and original works related to video game music, nerdish film music, television shows (especially cartoons and anime) or by other bands loved by nerds (such as Queen). There is nerd rap, heavy-metal, acoustic, modern, etc. Even show tunes. And of course electronic – some of it “8-bit” electronic, emulating the best that early game consoles could do. I made it to Nerdapalooza this year and it was AWESOME.
Geek & Sundry (geekandsundry.com) is a more recent but rapidly growing mostly video-based site established by actress/producer Felicia Day (The Guild)with some assist by Wil Wheaton (Star Trek TNG). Currently not covering as much ground as Nerdy Show, they do have a bit higher production values (their budget is obviously much higher) and seem to be expanding into similar territories. It’s a really fun site to visit with a large community, thanks to the star-power involved (eg, Will Wheaton’s nerd-cred of 1.4 million fans on Google Plus).
Speaking of Google Plus (aka G+) it’s a much more nerd-friendly social network than Facebook, primarily because nerds like Google. Give it a shot, you’ll have fun there. (On the same token, nerds generally prefer Android phones over the highly proprietary iPhone. Trust a nerd on this!)
Wish I had space for more nerdish ramblings, but, to put it nerdishly, my word-count is capped. See you in Nerdspace!
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