Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Geeks vs. Nerds: Hard data

LibraryThing’s systems administrator, John Dalton, came up with this—using LibraryThing’s tagmash feature to demonstrate the difference between geeks and nerds:

See also:

Labels: geeks, humor, nerds, tagmash


  1. Anonymous says:

    " +– "

    Is this supposed to be intuitive? What logic function is this using and how do "ordinary" users know about it? Please post a list of supported search modifers!

    Otherwise Cool!

  2. Donogh says:

    Information on this feature can be found on the blog post from last week about Tagmashes

  3. Anonymous says:

    This absolutely calls for a new statistic/meme: % geek vs. nerd. 🙂

    LT user caffron

  4. Lisa says:

    Where did "New Orleans" come from on the nerds, –geeks side? Is this from the current glut of southern vampire/romance/etc books?

  5. Amy says:

    Surprisingly, a tagmash of "nerds" and "New Orleans" reveals only two books. "A Confederacy of Dunces" is the likely culprit.

    I continue to fall more and more in love with this feature everyday.

    (LT member ToTheWest)

  6. Anonymous says:

    That's a false dichotomy. Similar to the false split between right and left brains, or the concepts of mind and body. All of these are one in the same. Geeks are nerds and vice versa. There is neither a left nor right side of the brain, just a brain. Our mind is our body, our body is our mind.

  7. lorax says:

    That's awesome.

  8. Anonymous says:

    That is cool. I just that it even occurred to anyone to try this way of filtering the data.

    Also, shows the benefits of informal cataloging schema as well as formal ones: This kind of playful-yet-interesting stuff.

  9. codekoala says:

    This is awesome. I will now keep in mind to tell people I'm a geek instead of a nerd. Thank you!

    As for the "intuitive" nature of the "+–" mentioned by the first poster, the "+" is just what a URL-encoded space often looks like. The actual logic function is the "–". If you look at the parameters, you see "geek, –nerd". Replace the space in that with a "+" and you have exactly what you see in the URL!

  10. Andrew B says:

    Ha, just saw the mashup appear on Digg's twitter bot (tweets about stories that get more than 2000) diggs):

  11. Anonymous says:

    Can "dork" be used interchangeably with either "geek" or "nerd"?

  12. Simeon Beresford says:

    'Can "dork" be used interchangeably with either "geek" or "nerd"?'

    Only by Jocks

  13. Anonymous says:

    interesting…I'd say my geek and nerd friends and I have always thought of it the other way around. Nerds are the computer people, geeks are the scifi/fantasy people.

  14. branadain says:

    "I'd say my geek and nerd friends and I have always thought of it the other way around. Nerds are the computer people, geeks are the scifi/fantasy people."

    I'll second that! Although "computer geek" is probably used more often than "computer nerd" these days, I've always seen "nerd" as a more mathematical- and science-oriented person, and a "geek" (myself proudly included) as someone with a particular fringe interest, such as The LotR, role-playing, or a particular genre of films. Clearly, there is some interchangeability and overlap here. Perhaps a Venn diagram is in order! (Now that's nerdy!)

  15. Marilyn Bott says:

    I'd recommend [American Nerd: the story of my people] by [[Benjamin Nugent]] for a fascinating discussion of the whole topic.

  16. Alliebadger says:

    This is absolutely hilarious! Love it so very much.

  17. Anna Nachesa says:

    Why is "geek,+–nerds" possible and "geek,+–nerd" gets translated into "geek,+nerds"? (With "nerd, +–geek" there is no such problem though "nerd" still becomes "nerds"). A bug in the engine?

  18. Benu says:

    "Can "dork" be used interchangeably with either "geek" or "nerd"?"

    I just did a dork tag mashup and apparently dorks are more interested in Dragonriders of Pern than LoTR or science and computers. But I'd say judging by this, dorks lean more towards nerds than geeks.

  19. dorkismo says:

    Can't resist popping in to say that my book has quite a bit to say on this point– Dorkismo, the Macho of the Dork.

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