What’s the difference between a Geek, a Nerd and a Boffin?

It sounds like the start of a joke, right? ¬†Well, in all seriousness it’s not that obvious and probably why you found this page in the first place. I’ll give you the answer later on (click to jump to the spoiler further down this post).

So why this post anyway?

In short…

Because my wife’s inaccurately introduced me as all 3 over the years! ūüôĀ
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I’ve been struggling for a ‘first post’ for some time.

(I digress…) Also, whilst wondering how to present this Blog, it hit me… you may have heard all the marketing hype out there about: “be yourself”, “wear your heart on your sleeve” and you will find the right perspective and “audience will like you more for it”. ¬†So, this Blog is me; everything I believe in, how I think, how I love helping others – all that, but usually written in business light.

Are you unfairly labelled as such too?

‘Geek’ kind of resembles me (to an extent). ¬†I don’t know whether I’m a Geek, a Nerd or a Boffin, but my wife’s called me all 3 at some point or other since we met (2001).

Let’s get cracking on the answer…

OXFORD DICTIONARY says…

Evolution of the Geek - Infographic.‘Geek’
‘An unfashionable or socially inept person.’
To be or become extremely excited or enthusiastic about a subject, typically one of specialist or minority interest.

ME? I can ‘Geek-out’ about some things from time to time I guess.¬†You’re a Geek too – see the proof: interesting InfoGraphic ‘Evolution of the Geek’.

‘Nerd’
‘A foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious.’
A single-minded expert in a particular technical field: e.g. A computer nerd.

ME? Nope – Not true! ¬†e.g. I’ve never been a serious nerd prior to discovering girls and cars, perhaps I should have been ‘boringly studios’, but never was.

‘Boffin’
‘A person engaged in scientific or technical research’
A person with knowledge or a skill considered to be complex or arcane: e.g. a computer boffin.

Me? Hmm, I like doing as many things as properly as I can, so this often involves researching the options out there and choosing the best one – but I still don’t think it makes me a Boffin?! ¬†e.g. On¬†the Boffin scale… I’m nowhere near The Egg Heads (as seen on BBC).

THE ANSWER?‚ÜĎ

We are all (yes you also)¬†somewhere on ‘the scale’ of all the above (Geek, Nerd, Boffin). ¬†Your ‘traits’ don’t make you any particular type of ‘label’, but merely one attribute amongst your many.

So the difference between them? There isn’t a difference! ¬†All 3 definitions evolve around you having¬†more knowledge than your peer, on a given topic, for a point in time, which potentially distances yourself socially as a result.

Proof:

  1. You can associate or know ‘something’ about 1 or more of the following elements of this post…
    1. Ever being called a Geek, Nerd or Boffin (most of us have at some point).
    2. You’ve wondered the difference yourself (how else could you locate this post).
    3. You have a Wife (or don’t, or never had a girlfriend even).
    4. Using a Dictionary (or indeed the Oxford one).
    5. Writing styles (e.g.this post aims to be Skim-readable).
    6. Writing of lists (and/or usage of bullets).
  2. How much of the above apply to you, places you on the scale of each: Geek, Nerd, Boffin.

Do of course feel free to chip in with your comments below!!

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