What is a “Nerd” in 2019?

Historically, popular culture has often made the concept of “nerds” the butt of the joke. It was always a socially awkward character with glasses or suspenders and acne, accompanied by a laugh track and an obsession with Star Trek and the like. But is there a “nerd” of 2019? The nature of this stereotype has changed so immensely with the rise of the internet, the original connotation of the term feels nearly obsolete nowadays—which is a great thing.

The first usages of the word “nerd” were usually derogatory. It was used to make fun of people who liked certain franchises or subjects, or dressed and acted a certain way. Many of the things people were made fun of for enjoying included Star Wars, superhero comics, and even STEM subjects in general. However, since the early 2000s, these things became mainstream for the first time. Groups of individuals who wouldn’t be caught dead reading a Marvel comic before are now flocking to the blockbuster Avengers films. Dungeons and Dragons are more popular than ever and the video game market has skyrocketed. What’s changed?

“Nerd” is no longer niche. With the advancement of internet culture, people from all over the world are able to communicate about their shared interests and spread the word about their passions. This leads to an influx of users being able to discover and pursue nearly any subject and find others to discuss it with, in fandoms or otherwise. It’s becoming ever harder to truly be an outsider; for better or for worse. Just look at Reddit, a social media platform built upon this idea. Shared enthusiasm is a beautiful thing! We love spreading the love!

Of course, there’s bound to be those who still poke fun at others for simply being enthusiastic about something. That’s mostly just the cynicism of the times talking. It’s not as cool or edgy as people seem to think it is to be disinterested and cold in the public eye. I say, love what you love, and love it loud. Don’t be ashamed of your interests; wear that Star Wars t-shirt proudly! Good for you for liking something so much and having it bring you so much joy. We need as much joy as we can get these days, even from the little things.

TLDR; being a “nerd” is pretty dang cool if you ask me.

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