If you google “geek nerd dork differentiation,” you get a forum post with this graphic as an explanation. I’m not sure I entirely agree, but it’s a good visualization.
This post stems from a dinner table conversation (and a LONG AGO conversation with Dan) in which I was trying to explain the distinction of these three personality traits to my mother, a person who decidedly fits into none of the above. I came up with:
DORK: awkard, socially inept, glasses from blindness not from programming or gaming into the early hours of the morning, silly, goofy, like a dunce cap except a little less embarrassing
NERD: all-around know it all or smarty-pants, generally intelligent, enjoys things like learning and school
GEEK: obsessive, extensive, specialized knowledge, the ability to talk about it for hours on end, not necessarily reserved to interests of the tech or sci-fi variety (e.g. beer geeks)
Urban Dictionary defines them in the following ways:
Now, there is a general subset of the population who have characteristics like these – there is also a subset that has none. The chasm is insurmountable. And if you have a little bit of dork in you, you also have some nerd and some geek. The question, then, is which are your predominant traits and the amounts to which each of these pervades your general behavior and social interaction. The more of any or all of these three you exude on a regular basis, the less likely you are to lead a “normal” social life with “normalized” human interaction.
How to know if you qualify as a part of this elite set:
If you have ever quoted Star Wars.
If you have ever quoted Star Trek.
If you have ever quoted Battlestar Galactica.
If you have ever quoted, seen, or are aware of the existence of Firefly.
If you read and, particularly, look forward to new releases from XKCD, Oatmeal, Doghouse Diaries, etc.
If you have ever quoted or tried to speak in a made-up language of the Lord of the Rings.
If you think Galaxy Quest is funny. At all. Seriously.
Probably, if you’ve gotten this far.
You have at least five tweets griping about some aspect of some programming or mark-up language.
You are a TERRIBLE dinner guest.
You care about Android operating system releases.
You know about varieties of things that some people think only exist as a single, general broad category (e.g. hops).
Your grammar is impeccable.
You actually think The Big Lebowski is funny, not just because someone told you it was. And you do what the Dude tells you to.
You’ve been to a convention. Ever. For anything.
You bring a computer to a bar, do some work with Facebook’s proprietary (and heinously annoying) mark-up language, and proceed to write this blog post.
Feel free to add to my list!