I was listening to the Quick ‘n’ Dirty podcast in the car yesterday, hosted by Aaron Strout and Jennifer Leggio. It’s becoming one of my favorite social media podcasts. They cover useful topics, have great guests and have a nice interaction between the two of them that makes it fun to listen to. Plus, they seem to mention Kyle Flaherty on nearly every episode. Highly recommended.
Aaron and Jennifer were having a conversation about some fairly in-depth social media topic. I think it may have been location-based services like Foursquare and Gowalla (I would go find it in the podcast but I’m writing this while The Boy is napping, and every precious moment counts). At one point, one of them said, “Yeah, we’re dorks,” and the other repeated it. “Yeah, we’re dorks.”
I’m used to hearing “geek” uttered proudly these days, and “nerd,” of course. (Mike Schneider sent a tweet announcing the arrival of his flight to Austin for SXSW that said something to the effect of, “The nerd bird has landed.”) I use both geek and nerd in my short bio.
When I was in high school in the ’80s, you didn’t want to be called a nerd or a geek, and certainly not a dork. Obviously things have changed. This isn’t going to turn into some sort of linguistic or sociological treatise. I do not intend to cite Revenge of the Nerds (Dir. Jeff Kanew. Interscope, 1984.)
I just find it increasingly fascinating that the future of corporate marketing and communications is being written by the geeks, nerds and dorks. When I started my first serious business-related job in the early ’90s, if you were going to compare stats with a business contact, it was the final score of last night’s game or your golf handicap, not the size of your hard drive. (I would say “how much RAM you have” but I can’t remember if we had RAM back then.)
Marketing used to be the domain of the firm handshake and the elevator pitch. I met a lot of marketers in the ’90s who were probably ex football players. These days, at least at social media events, I meet a lot more people who were probably in the AV club.
In the age of search engine optimization, Web analytics, targeted email campaigns, widgets and iPhone apps, it pays to be comfortable with technology. If you’re the kind of person who likes to play with gadgets and spend Saturday afternoon on the computer instead of on the links, you’re more likely to respond positively to Facebook or Twitter, or the next thing that comes along, or the thing after that.
Of course, this is only a bubble. We’re deep into a period where technology, communications and marketing are becoming intertwined. There are people at the cutting edge and others being left behind. But in a few years the holdouts will have retired, the baseline will have been raised and the new people entering the profession will take the technological nature of marketing for granted.
And high school students will have to find some other basis for making fun of one another. I have no doubt they’re up for the challenge.