Twitter Ad. Geek Graphics, Geek Models, Geek Jackpot!
The latest Twitter ad belongs to a tradition of characters from the Metal Geek of Wayne’s World to the Prof Geek of Indiana Jones to the deadpan High-School Geek of Napoleon Dynamite. While Man Stock Photos is a proud genre in image libraries and the wider culture, the latest Twitter ad highlights the emerging new photo sub-category, a new image beyond gender, Geek Stock
Twitter’s new ad is as self-conscious as last year’s widely criticised ad, it’s first commercial which nodded to the New York earthquake, but has a thumbs up so far for its hammy parody of over-enthusiastic tech company employees. It’s hammy and innocent, innocence being a defining characteristic of the Geek (see Steve Carrell in The 40 Year Old Virgin). The Geek is an emerging visual archetype in the categories of Man Stock Photos and Woman Stock Photos
But it also highlights just how far Geek Culture, which was a subculture, has entered the mainstream. The ‘geek’ has often been pictured as a figure of fun – socially inept, hopeless, helpless – that borders on bullying. Long before ‘geeks’ turned out to be the ones ruling the new digital world (from Bill Gates to…..) the Geek had been reborn as a subtler kind of cool by Hollywood from George McFly in Back to the Future, to David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) in Independence Day, to Thora Birch in Ghost World a kind of breakthrough for the Modern Geek Girl.
These movies picture Geek as truly cool because they know they’re not cool and don’t care. They are happy. And so curiously in advertising, the ‘Geek’ has become the sign of non-conformity, with Microsoft’s ‘I am a PC’ impassioned defence against being stereotyped in the Apple ads (Cool versus Geek).
In 2012 the image of Geek sits perfectly with our economic uncertainty, of mild protest, of generalized dissatisfaction. Like the Geek we are all outsiders now, afloat in a sea of uncertainty, thrown back on our own resources. The Geek is partly defined by the unrecognised creative talent to fabricate a rich universe of the imagination, like Wayne’s World, or Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon in 30 Rock who was described by Time magazine as Goddess of Geeks.
Huffington Post recently ran a feature 7 Signs Geek Girls Are Taking Over The World, which underlines the fact that ‘Geek’ was once largely male (see Manstock) is no longer gender specific.
Meanwhile what are your favorite Geek movies and characters? Here’s a benchmark movie that ticks off all the attributes (we’re geeks too we’ve counted) of the great geek movie