Being a "geek" has never been cooler—or more respected. According to a recent survey by information technology staffing firm Modis, 54 percent of Americans rated geeks to be extremely intelligent, an increase from 45 percent in 2011. In addition, 71 percent of survey respondents identified geeks as the go-to people for technology advice vs. 56 percent last year. Perhaps most impressive is that more than half of Americans (51 percent) define geeks as professionally successful, a significant jump from 31 percent in 2011.
"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 US," said Jack Cullen, president of Modis. "Geeks have essentially taken their place in the mainstream. And rightly so!"
Being the go-to people for technology advice also comes with an attachment to technology that seems greater than their non-geek counterparts. More than 60 percent of geeks said they would be very stressed out by losing the files on their computer's hard drive, yet only 49 percent would feel the same about going through a relationship breakup.
Yet 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 both geeks and non-geeks are guilty of socially inappropriate use of technology. A shocking 5 percent of all respondents confessed to having used a device such as a smartphone during a funeral and 9 percent have used a tech device during a religious service. In addition, nearly one-fifth (19 percent) of those surveyed—geek and non-geek—have used a device during a date and 18 percent have used one during a business meeting.
Other findings include:
- 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 devices such as a computer (58 percent), smartphone (41 percent), and MP3 player (25 percent).
- Technology can be dangerous for geeks and non-geeks. According to the survey, 32 percent of Americans admit to using their personal devices while driving a car, despite state laws banning it for safety reasons. However, geeks are the biggest culprits, with 45 percent of geeks admitting to using their device while driving, compared to 30 percent of non-geeks.
- Men are more tech obsessed than women. According to the survey, men are more likely than women to be told that they use technological devices too often, including their desktop PC (17 percent v 9 percent), portable music player (10 percent v. 5 percent), and gaming console (16 percent v. 2 percent). Men are also more likely to use a device at the dinner table (36 percent v. 27 percent).
Published with permission from RISMedia.