One of our guest bloggers, AC Powers, suggested a new ongoing set of posts here on Comparative Geeks. Primers in geekery. A Geek 101, if you will.
However, Holly and I both have a masters, so by golly, it’s Geek 501. Welcome to primers for people who want to master Geekery.
Right? That’s how that works.
I thought I would open with one of the more important parts of Geek Culture – sharing. One of the things that might separate “geek” from other sorts of groupings (like “nerd”) is the outward excitement and passion geeks have for the things they love. It’s not secret or hidden, but open and known. And while this sort of enthusiasm seems to be becoming less counter-cultural and more of the norm, that does not mean it is not a defining characteristic of geekdom.
So, for a bit of a primer in: sharing, for geeks!
Someone once told me, when you lend someone a book, you should not have an expectation you will ever get it back. And that’s probably the right attitude to take. Now, if you’re receiving a book from someone, yes, please try to give it back, they know you have it – but really, the expectation should be that you will not see it again.
So really, sharing books is often a heavy monetary commitment – because there are books that I both want to have, and like to share with people. I have bought many people their own copies of Dune – since they can’t have my dog-eared version! Meanwhile, I have led to many people reading the Game of Thrones series – loaning them book by book of the series. These have all kept making their way back to me, so they are ready for me to lend again.
In fact, even though we have it on Kindle, I will likely buy a paperback copy of Dance with Dragons this month when it comes out – because then I can lend this to people too. Because I have people who have been asking for it. Oh, and we’ve gifted it in Kindle form too.
These are the logistics of sharing books with people: you must have it first, and then, when you talk about it, share your passion of it, that passion is backed up by grabbing the book and handing it to someone. And then they can be hooked too – and you’ve shared your love of a good book. Be willing to part with them, or buy extra copies, and hey – financially that supports the things you love.
I don’t know how many games we own that we first played with someone else – or that other people own after playing the game with us. But the best way to share a board game or card game is to invite someone over to play it with you.
With games, it ends up far more about sharing your space with someone, and then the game becomes your shared experience at that point. And it usually works to get the other person hooked as well, and getting their own copy, playing the game more – and wanting to rematch.
And so many games have all these expansion packs and continuations these days! It’s fantastic that they do, as they expand your gaming experience so much, and add a huge amount of replay-ability to games.
However, this leads to a different sort of sharing: have a gaming group, where you keep track of each other’s games. Board games, and their expansions, are an expensive hobby, so having one person collect one game, and another person collect another, is more efficient. But then, when you really want to play, you have to get together, or loan the game.
So this sort of system takes a commitment, but this commitment pays off. Sharing games like this can form and then hold together a group of friends. A group sharing in their love of things geeky. This is the best of gaming, in many ways – video games often give either a means of playing a game by ourselves instead of needing others, or else a way to play with others who are at distance. These are great, but for a social gathering, playing a board game, card game, tabletop game, or pen-and-paper game is a better way to spend your time together.
If you notice, part of my thoughts about this are the financial aspects. When talking about sharing things, there is often talk or concerns of piracy or other ways where money is not being spent, the economy is not being supported. This matters, because if we are not financially supporting the things we love, will they continue to be made? We can speak with our spending.
I think a discussion of investing and Kickstarter would be a bit much here, but know that thats an interesting part of our future.
I submit to you that sharing these things actually generates a lot of sales. Between Holly and I we have two copies of A Song of Ice and Fire, which, while we have shared it with others, it also all started because someone bought me a copy of Game of Thrones – one gift spawning so much more money being spent. We have HBO first and foremost for Game of Thrones as a show.
So then, because we have it, we watch the show with others who don’t have HBO. And why not? The alternative is likely piracy, and I say that far more because this is the most pirated show out there. Alternatives through channels people have – like Hulu Plus, Netflix, and Amazon Prime – aren’t available with the HBO shows (or CBS, generally, so HBO is by no means the only culprit) so the options for many people are share it, steal it, or skip it.
So I submit to you, share it. Many of the people you share the watching experience with will buy the DVDs once the show is out – but the waiting, why with the waiting, HBO? Share, that we might enjoy the things we love together. And I think the finances of the situation still pan out.
One place where the financials work differently, however, is online. One of the most dangerous things a group of people can do is sit down with YouTube open. I say dangerous as in, there goes the next several hours of your life!
However, these sort of shared reference points can be powerful for group-forming and group identity. I have used YouTube videos at work, even, to create shared experiences there, inside jokes the team can pull on. “I threw it on the ground” from Lonely Isle, or “Big Old Stupid Truck” are a couple I have used to this effect.
So do this, but be ready for the crazy rabbit holes it can lead to. Make sure everyone gets to share stuff they like, because let’s face it, we all have favorites and recommendations on YouTube.
Guest Blog Posts
And there are many other ways we can share – like here, on the blog. Holly and I are trying to get better about commenting on other people’s blogs – we were often reading, but silent. Share our thoughts! I know the feeling of asking a question and getting silence in response.
However, share! Share your responses on the blogs you read, the media you enjoy. Share your thoughts, so the writer feels like they have a listening audience, so the other readers don’t feel afraid to share themselves.
Holly and I are traveling right now, so the rest of this week is going to be closed out by some guest blog posts. Please read, and comment if you feel so driven! Support our guest bloggers, so maybe they’ll come back!
And we’ll see you next week!