If you were born before 1970, you probably read that as a sort of whispered confession. If you were born after 1980, you probably read it as a boast. (In between? Depends on how tapped into pop culture you are.)
To be a nerd is no longer something to be ashamed of. Nerds are out, loud, and proud. We recognize fellow nerds immediately, not by the pocket protectors but by the Firefly t-shirts and Star Wars stick-figure family decals on our cars. Nerd culture is a phenomenon that coalesced over the last decade, and it has less to do with social awkwardness and über-braininess than with shared interests. Nerds love the same things, and we love them passionately. Most of those things revolve around media: the TV shows, films, comic books, video games, and novels we consume.
|Is your dog an AT-AT? Because mine definitely is.|
|If you get this reference, you are a nerd.|
From a marketing perspective, the best thing about nerds is that we are both obsessive and we often have resources to devote to those obsessions. Whether you are a consumer of nerd content or a creator of that content, you're part of a powerful (and growing) economic and cultural force. Chances are, even if you don't self-identify as a nerd, your entertainment is being shaped increasingly by those who do cheerfully consider themselves part of this influential culture.
How about you? Do you self-identify as a nerd? Do you see nerddom as changing the face of popular culture?