Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nerd rage!

Last week I presented an angry looking emoticon and said that I would explain it next week. Now it's next week! :-D

As you can see below, it's a Nerd Rage emoticon! Soooo..... what's it for, you ask? It's my attempt at creating something that I hope will go viral.

For those of you who might not know what "nerd rage" is, then a little explanation is in order. Yes, you can figure out the "raging nerd" part, but it's not just that. "Nerd Rage" is actually defining an unofficial yet recognized psychological phenomenon peculiar to the group of folks known as "nerds".

Now here I must make a clarification of the term "nerd", because it's used in a more expansive way today than it had been in the past. "Nerd" now can mean someone who has a great interest in a field or subject that is normally considered a field or subject that only the classical nerd would be interested in. For example, I refer to myself as a "comics nerd". A variation of that also exists for the term "geek"; for example, "technogeek" for someone with a great interest in computers or technology.

However, the term "Nerd Rage" refers to the classical nerd, that is, the very intelligent and yet socially-challenged individual (most usually males, but not just them, of course) that may also be lacking in certain other things, like basic fashion sense, healthy nutritional sustenances, and personal hygiene.

Because of their socially-challenged lifestyle, they are often the targets of mocking and bullying by their peers. In some nerds, this is the origins and basis of their anger towards those that mock and bully them, and this anger finds avenues of expression usually in "safe" environments (that is, safe from retaliation) such as Internet forums or blogs. However, the most famous example of "Nerd Rage" can be found on certain online games (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft. During such ventures such as 5, 10, or 25 man dungeon raids, when one party member makes a silly or even stupid mistake, we often see probably the more pure examples of nerd rage out there.

Just as in life, no one in a MMORPG is perfect. No one goes into a MMORPG knowing everything that needs to be known, knowing what needs to be done and when to do it during battles in certain dungeons and against certain "bosses". Most of us understand this, and we will be patient with someone who is still trying to learn their roles during a dungeon run. We may even get a bit testy if they don't seem to be trying hard enough, but even then we will just kick them out of the group rather than let our anger level rise above "miffed". Not so the nerd rager! Oh, not so!

For the classical nerd, MMORPG environments are their heaven. There they reign supreme, because there they can demonstrate their intellectual and technological mastery to the fullest. No one criticizes their lack of fashion sense, bad eating habits, or poor hygiene; instead, others marvel as they take down the difficult monsters with graceful ease and are able to figure out puzzling quests that the rest of us have been banging our heads trying to figure out.

Unfortunately, some also use MMORPGs as their opportunity for revenge against those that make their life miserable by making the online lives of others miserable. In the virtual world, they can be the bullies, and bully they do! Those of you who have partaken MMORPGs have seen the jerk - okay, he's actually an asshole - that will hurl a long string of "f-bombs" towards someone who makes a mistake during a dungeon raid. They will also question their parental relations and their sexual orientation and make other statements about them that they wouldn't repeat in real life, because they know that their asses would be handed to them if they did.

And that, friends, is the difference between naturally getting frustrated with someone who isn't trying hard enough, and flying into "nerd rage" and throwing "f-bombs" at them: The former is a natural reaction and the latter is an overreaction. That overreaction is nerd rage. It's an overkill response to an action that doesn't deserve the verbal tirade that the nerd rager will fly into.

I had mentioned nerd rage to the boss a couple of weeks ago, and he whipped up the emoticon below. He seemed to like the phrase "nerd rage", especially those two words being used together. He found that amusing, like saying "belligerent Chihuahua" (those are his words).

While he made that emoticon just for the fun of it, it got me thinking that perhaps I can use it and my blog to help understand the origins and causes of nerd rage, and what can be done about it. No doubt the nerd rager has more serious issues than the usual normal frustration that comes with being ridiculed for being socially awkward.

Life is too short to let things that are said or happen in virtual environments (Internet forums, blogs, MMORPGs, etc) get to you, so rather than fly off the handle, maybe my providing a source for knowing and understanding nerd rage will help serve a beneficial role in our cyber society. So with that, I will be creating a Nerd Rage Facebook group for just that reason. I am still planning how I will use the group to serve the cause that I hope to serve. Perhaps in the creation and development of the group, an idea of how to carry out my idea will come to me. Well, it's a start, anyway!

So take heart, my little nerdlings! Help is on the way!

By the way, don't you think that the emoticon will make a cool t-shirt? :-D

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