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The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth

The digital natives are getting restless Credit: Digital native image via Shutterstock

Forget all those stereotypes about nerd packs and social awkwardness.  Being a "geek" has never been cooler or more respected, according to a survey released in recognition of Geek Pride Day on May 25. Geeks, in fact, have gone mainstream.

Geeks are no longer viewed as being unwashed, unsuccessful pariahs, according to a survey of more than 1,000 American adults ages 18 and older sponsored by Modis, an information technology staffing firm. More than half (51 percent) of respondents said that geeks were professionally successful, a significant jump from 31 percent in 2011. And 54 percent of Americans rated geeks as being extremely intelligent, an increase from 45 percent last year.

Though they are a minority, their numbers are not insubstantial: Nearly one in five (17 percent) Americans own up to being a geek, the survey found. Not surprisingly, the survey showed that most Americans (71 percent) identify geeks as the go-to people for technology advice.

[The Digital Natives Are Getting Restless]

But geeks aren't the only ones obsessed with technology.  Though 69 percent of non-geeks are quick to label geeks as addicted to tech, they themselves are attached, as well. Of those surveyed, 67 percent of non-geeks said they would have a difficult time living without at least one tech accessory for the day, of a list of devices including computers, smartphones or MP3 player. That's only slightly lower than the 69 percent of geeks that said the same.

And geeks are still old-fashioned when it comes to communication. When asked from a list of items which would be the most difficult to live without, 71 percent of geeks chose pen and paper over such devices as a computer (58 percent), smartphone (41 percent) and MP3 player (25 percent).

"The past year has seen a lot of very public coverage of high-profile, extremely successful 'rock star' technology executives—it  would seem the high public profile of these tech  'celebrities' has really boosted public perception of geeks in the U.S.," said Jack Cullen, president of Modis.  "Technology is infiltrating the average American's life more and more, making geeks more respected and mainstream."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.

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