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YouTube launches 'Geek Week', nerds left in the shade

Running August 4-10, each day of the week will be dedicated to different strand of geekery

The latest campaign by YouTube to boost the profile of its user-generated content is Geek Week. Running from August 4th to the 10th YouTube will be showcasing more than 100 different channels dedciated to aspects of 'geek culture'.

A joint US/UK venture, the project will be "powered in conjunction with" Channel Flip in the UK and Nerdist in the US. Each morning will kick off with a video introducing the highlights of the day, with well known YouTube figures from FreddieW to TomSka compering the frivolities.

The full schedule - with excruciatingly worded branding and depressingly expected franchise tie-ins included - is as follows:

  • Blockbuster Sunday: A celebration of the iconic characters, movies and shows that define geek culture--plus a spotlight on the best original YouTube sci-fi, fantasy and animation.
  • Global Geekery Monday: Anime from Tokyo, comic book heroes from Delhi, and a celebration of "Doctor Who." Explore geek culture from around the world.
  • Brainiac Tuesday: Science, education and knowledge channels that make YouTube the world's biggest platform for learning.
  • Super Wednesday: From hilarious parodies to real-life superpowers, explore superheroes, the supernatural and the super-weird. Plus, released exclusively for Geek Week, the trailer for Marvel's “Thor: The Dark World.”
  • Gaming Thursday: A gamers’ paradise, with live play-throughs, video games in real life, game-inspired original series and much more. .
  • Fan Friday: Sci-fi-themed cooking, incredible cosplay and impassioned nerd debates as YouTube's biggest fans take center stage.

Nerd or Geek?

Whilst YouTube's new campaign is perhaps the final nail in the coffin of the 'rehabilitation' of the geek (it started when brands realised that even video-game fans like having a cultural milieu fabricated for them) there's still some confusion over where to draw the line between a geek and a nerd.

The general rule for the post-PC generation is that 'geeks are nerds with less social aptitude' though the idea of authenticity has now snuck into the definitions as well (nerds here take home the unabashed and 'uncool' trophy for that particular quality).

Software engineer and scientist Burr Settles even tried to settle the debate with mathematics, analysing how often certain words appeared alongside 'geek' and 'nerd' on Twitter.

pdf nerd geek.jpg
Burr Settles' research shows nerds and geeks share some qualities but are strongly opposed on others.


Looking at the graph above words in orange are more geeky than nerdy, and words in blue are the opposite. Words at the top of the axis are more geeky whilst words to the right are more nerdy. Words along the diagonal are most shared by the two groups, with the further away from this line marking them out as distinctive to one or the other group. Words in the bottom left aren't really particular to either group, whilst those in the top-right are strongly associated with both.

Settles concluded from his research that whilst nerds prefer the life of the mind - academia and ideas - geeks are more attracted to the objects of pop culture - to collections, TV shows and games. And whilst there are common interests between the two (eg technology and computers) nerds tend to appreciate the methods and workings behind these, whilst geeks prefer the brands themselves.