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.

  • Closet Nerd

    I would rather be classified under "nerd"

  • Closet Nerd

    no particular reason

  • Closet Nerd

    i just feel it suits me

  • Proteon

    As someone who was a Nerd in the 80's, I can accurately relay that all of the above originally fell into one, very uncool category.

    Thanks Hipsters!

  • inconspicuous

    So culture is 100% geek, and cellists are 100% nerd? ...Now I understand.

  • Spoon

    I've listened to an interview with the bloke who made this and it's actually quite a nifty study. I feel you should've at least used the word "statistics" in there somewhere, GW. Now it just looks like some random word cloud.

    While I agree with Joe that these sort of graphs are usually quite silly, I actually like this one because it uses *SCIENCE* (which I guess puts me in the nerd camp?).

  • Forblat

    #Dell should be down around 0,0

  • steenarie

    I feel like some 13 year old girl made this graph.

  • Joe Ryburn

    Am I the only one that loathes these graphs and charts that actually try to separate the two?

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