As I see some people, especially internauts, just by thinking that they had posted a video in youtube, or they have a facebook account, or they've created a blogger website etc..., they simply call themselves 'geeks'. Then, according to Merriam Webster , there are two possible definitions of 'geek' :

  • a person who is socially awkward and unpopular : a usually intelligent person who does not fit in with other people

  • a person who is very interested in and knows a lot about a particular field or activity

So, that's what makes me confused!

Does the term 'geek' stands for a facebook addict, generally computer addict ?
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    If your hypothesis is that the activities you cite do not rise to the level of expertise implied by geek definition #3, or to the level of intellectuality implied by definition #2, then yes, I think Merriam-Webster's definitions fully support you, and you can exclude these wannabes from the august ranks of the world's geeks (at least pending acts of oral decapitation per definition #1). – Brian Donovan Jul 13 '14 at 13:23
  • What do you mean by a "computer addict"? A social media addict is different from a computer addict. If a person is a computer addict, then it means that they're enthusiastic about digging into computers and learning more, and that can make them geeky. – Neeku Jul 13 '14 at 13:23
  • @Neeku , What I mean by 'computer addict', a person who spends most of time playing online games, downloading and watching movies, chatting etc... That I don't really think that can be called 'a geek'. – Younesse Bagachoul Jul 13 '14 at 13:29
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    A ‘real’ gamer—someone who spends most of his time playing computer games—would qualify as being a geek to me, generally speaking. A casual gamer—someone who just plays maybe a couple of times a week—would not. A geek is also different from a computer or social media addict, which is someone who is so reliant on computers or social media that they simply cannot do without them and get withdrawal symptoms if they are forced to for too long. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 13 '14 at 13:43
  • @JanusBahsJacquet, computer games player is called 'Gamer', so we're talking about another term for who spends most of his time playing computer games; but I don't see any relationship between a gamer and 'a geek' in it's definition. – Younesse Bagachoul Jul 13 '14 at 13:56

The computer magazines that I have worked at use geek as a code word for "at least somewhat knowledgeable computer enthusiast." The fuzziness of the definition is intentional, since the bigger the geek tent is, the more readers can be squeezed into the magazines' vaguely clubbish, vaguely exclusive category of admirable and welcome readers.

No doubt you could find a similar process at work with the term innovator in business executive magazines, the term audiophile in what used to be called stereo magazines, the term connoisseur in wine magazines, and the term aficionado in bullfighting magazines: Objectively the word may seem to set the qualifying bar extremely high, but writers and editors are actually quite willing to give a pass to any reader who self-identifies as a member in good standing. And of course the self-flattering status extends far beyond any encouragement that magazines may offer.

If you want to label yourself a geek, regardless of your actual level of computer knowledge and computing skill, who's going to stop you? It's not as though you have to earn certification first. And to the extent that this arrangement falls short of (or even seems to debase) the lexicographically established definition of the term, it's part of a long tradition of such broadening—and eventually dictionaries will adjust to accommodate the new, less exacting meaning.

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I would be a little suspicious of how geeky things that have labelled themselves as "geeky" actually are. Often self-assigned labels like that are marketing in some form and reflect who they want to attract rather than necessarily being an accurate description.

As for the two definitions listed in the question, in my view the second definition is the more relevant to the use of geek or geeky in the context that the question appears to focus on. Not that the two definitions are mutually exclusive, there's in fact a great deal of overlap.

Then there's of course also the never ending geek vs nerd debate, where the line is definitely blurry and where the typical definitions yet again have a good deal of overlap. I'll take the risk of dealing with these terms as almost synonymous, which will quite possibly upset someone.

More to the point, I don't think that having a Facebook account or even posting videos on Youtube qualifies as geeky in itself, both are quite normal these days (Facebook more so) and being geeky isn't really about the medium used for expressing yourself unless there's actually something to that choice of medium.

For instance, amateur radio as a medium may qualify as geeky/nerdy as the people involved are enthusiasts that have some knowledge of the technology, equipment, etc. but the average Facebook addict does not typically have any particular insight with regard to Facebook, they barely chose the medium in the first place and they could just as well have used something else.

Either way, I think that the main question really has to be: what content are these potential geeks actually posting? Are they expressing their enthusiasm and insight on some topic? Does their knowledge go beyond just scratching the surface? Then there's a good chance that they can be classified as geeks (and/or nerds), regardless whether they are talking about the lore of Lord of the Rings, the optimal strategies in some computer game, electronics design, computer hardware, car tuning, sports statistics, carpentry, etc.

Just as a point of reference, here's a Youtube channel that I would consider a prime example of a geeky/nerdy (by the second definition of geek from the question): EEVBlog.

As a note regarding the first definition of geek from the question, there's of course the possibility that someone who is a bit socially awkward prefers interacting with others online but that's quite possibly hard to tell from their online behavior and it's probably not something they would go out of their way to advertise.

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