"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one," Bill Gates once famously said. Gone are the days when nerds are stereotyped as someone incredibly intelligent, fashionably challenged and social inept. Now, we live in a society where everyone is fascinated by technology and googling information faster than you can look up the word "dweeb" in your Webster's Dictionary. You don't even have to speak Klingon or understand the key terms of quantum physics to be considered a nerd anymore.
Still not convinced? Maybe you are worried that being a nerd opens the door to ridicule or a negative image. I do cringe sometimes when I hear kids talk about being techy as dorky. I definitely have been called a geek before because of my career interests. However, I tend to think of being a nerd in a positive way.
One of my favorite definitions of a nerd:
An 'individual', i.e. a person, who does not conform to society's beliefs that all people should follow trends and do what their peers do. Often highly intelligent but socially rejected because of their obsession with a given subject, usually computers.
Why are we all nerds? We all love our technology, we are a society who honestly loves to learn more about things we are interested in. We enjoy gaming. We are curious, we seek out ways to grow and also enjoy sharing what we already know. We've learned that having opinions which may not be popular expresses individuality and we are passing that onto our kids and/or supporting our friends.
Perhaps acknowledging a nerd you are familiar with will prove my point. Here's a list of 10 famous nerds (in no particular order and a wide variety), which I guarantee you will find cool.
- Ross from Friends-paleontologist who dated Rachel!
- Mary Katherine Gallagher from SNL-what a Superstar!
- Data from The Goonies-he made a belt that shot a suction cup and without him Mouth would still be in Pirate's Cove with Sloth.
- Bill Gates-enough said.
- Tina Fey-smart, funny, chic geek
- Steve Jobs-where would we all be without an Apple product?
- Mark Zuckerberg-invented social media.
- Napoleon Dynamite-huge nerd, wildly entertaining who inspired us to Vote for Pedro.
- Dwight from The Office--most annoying guy as a co-worker, but funniest guy to watch on TV.
- Clark Kent- a shy reporter with the geeky glasses who just happens to be Superman.
Embrace your inner geekness and pay it forward as we progress through this 21st century of digital learning. Keep inquiring more about others who may or may not be like you, you'll end up learning more about yourself. Being technology savy and digitally determined will increase your chances of being successful. Accepting those who are different and being who you are takes an incredible amount of confidence.
So, put your glasses on. You may see that nerds are the new heroes.