Oh yes, I had to touch on this. The most important thing I need everyone to understand by the end of this post is that nerds and geeks are not the same thing! There are some very key differences between the two, despite the fact that media (King of the Nerds and other such references) has given non-geeks and geek adjacents the idea that these are interchangeable terms. So, let’s get into this.
First, and this is the most fundamental difference, nerds tend to be book smart. They are readers and they get good grades in school. They value knowledge for the sake of knowing. Nerds would be the valedictorians (not that geeks can’t be good at school too). Geeks, on the other hand, value knowledge about that which interests them. While a nerd might be acing the math test, a geek will only be acing it if math fascinates them. Geeks will delve deep into knowledge about whatever they geek out for. A comic geek will have extensive knowledge over the comic book universe of their choosing. A nerd who likes comics will not have an extensive knowledge of the comic book universe, but might have extensive knowledge of the comics she/he likes. Are we catching the difference so far? Okay, awesome.
So, I’ll make this a bit easier by using myself as an example. I have been a book nerd for basically my whole life. But I have only been a geek since the fourth Harry Potter book. As a nerd, I was top of my class, I was quiet and always had a book in my hand. I like other stuff, watched Sailor Moon and liked to imagine crazy fantastical worlds (and I was shocked to find I wanted to be a writer) but I was a nerd. Once i joined the HP fandom I crossed over into geek territory and decided I rather liked it there. I have not left since. See, simply enjoying something does not a geek make. Being…well, to put it bluntly, fanatical about something is what makes you a geek. We are a people with a slightly unhealthy love for the things we are interested in.
So, I hope this has been helpful. And, just to recap, geek and nerd are not synonymous. Geeks are obsessed with the things they like and nerds are obsessed with knowledge. They are both outcast and share a kinship to one another but they are two different types of people.