The Nerd Versus Geek Graph Of Associated Words

June 27, 2013


This is the graph created by Burr Settles (links to his website with way more details) using Twitter data to determine which terms are used more often around the words 'geek' and 'nerd'. Hey, I'm just happy to see 'boobies' made the list. Personally, I'm a pretty serious boobie geek AND tit nerd. An explanation:

Moving up the vertical axis, words become more geeky ("#music" → "#gadget" → "#cosplay"), and moving left to right they become more nerdy ("education" → "grammar" → "neuroscience"). Words along the diagonal are similarly geeky and nerdy, including social ("#awkward", "weirdo"), mainstream tech ("#computers", "#microsoft"), and sci-fi/fantasy terms ("doctorwho," "#thehobbit"). Words in the lower-left ("chores," "vegetables," "boobies") aren't really associated with either, while those in the upper-right ("#avengers", "#gamer", "#glasses") are strongly tied to both. Orange words are more geeky than nerdy, and blue words are the opposite.

In broad strokes, it seems to me that geeky words are more about stuff (e.g., "#stuff"), while nerdy words are more about ideas (e.g., "hypothesis"). Geeks are fans, and fans collect stuff; nerds are practitioners, and practitioners play with ideas. Of course, geeks can collect ideas and nerds play with stuff, too. Plus, they aren't two distinct personalities as much as different aspects of personality. Generally, the data seem to affirm my thinking.

Interesting, so geeky words are more often associated with stuff, and nerdy words with ideas. And now we know. And knowing, as I'm sure you all remember from watching G.I. Joe, is...power? That doesn't sound right -- hold on, let me go ask my mom. Becky -- you watch my computer for me AND DON'T TYPE ANYTHING. My brother spends a lot of time in the bathroom with the door locked. Dammit Becky, what did I tell you?! Hahaha, that is true though. I f***ing love it in there.

Thanks to wolfRob and Christian, who don't care.

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