Of Geek Culture And Brands

I love Geek Dads – they make being a geek cool, sexy, and sensible all at the same time. There’s this recent post that just got me staring off into space thinking. I am not a parent (yet) but their posts really get my brain working overtime. The post I am talking about is titled “Can Geek Culture Exist Without Brands?” The premise of the post is simple: do we really need to be focused on brands associated with geekiness in order to sustain a geek lifestyle?

I suppose that the answers are not cut and dried, as some might want them to be. Daniel Donahoo, the blogger, says it so much better:

Geek culture is strongly linked these days to brands, commercialism and cash. Apple, Wizards of the Coast, Star Wars, LEGO, Marvel, Pixar (and the list goes on) are all brands that link very strongly with any geek’s sense of belonging and meaning. They also, consequently, get a lot of our hard-earned cash.

We live in a highly commercialized world, and money helps make it go ’round. But, how much does geek culture need brands and how much do the brands need us geeks? What is the relationship like and are we being charged excessively for our passionate fandom and connection to brands like LEGO and Apple? How do we define our geekiness without these brands?

Indeed, how do we define geekiness minus the brands that have become part of our lives? If we didn’t have Apple, would we still be considered geeks? That question keeps haunting me, and sad to say, the answers are hard to come by. I was left even more speechless by Donahoo’s parting lines:

Let us build a generation of geeks who are, like us, critical thinkers. Children who engage with the world around them and see the value of the screen as a tool, and the value of building things with their hands in the back yard and of staring up at the night sky in awe.

Perhaps we’ll find the answers in the simple things – those that cannot be branded or labeled; in those moments when we tore apart our first radio set or digital watch, just to see what was inside; in those moments that we built our first exploding volcano kit; in those moments when we caught a dragonfly and simply marveled at its beauty…

What makes one a geek? You tell me what you think!

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