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What is an Alpha Geek?

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  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2014
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An alpha geek is someone who experiments with new technology, and often has a high level of proficiency with technology. As the “alpha” implies, alpha geeks tend to run at the forefront of the pack, and they are often used as indicators to predict the future of technology. In an office environment, an alpha geek's services may also be in demand when coworkers struggle with computer problems.

This term appears to date to around 1995, when it was originally used primarily to describe someone with a lot of skills when it came to using technology. By 2002, people were also using the term to describe early adopters, whether or not they were skilled users of technology. This is an important distinction: an alpha geek with tech skills may, for example, tinker with new devices to explore their capacity, while an early adopter might simply settle for appreciating new technology, but not exploring it excessively. Some early adopters are actually quite useless when it comes to fixing technology or probing into how things work.

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Alpha geeks are often literate across computing platforms, and they may feel comfortable in a wide range of programs and environments. They use an assortment of devices, ranging from the latest cell-phones to high-tech kitchen gadgets, and many feel a need to be seen as ahead of the pack when it comes to technology. This can lead an alpha geek to pursue obscure or sought-after technology to impress people. Alpha geeks also tend to be early adopters of new developments on the Internet.

In the case of people who are technologically proficient in addition to being interested in new technology, alpha geeks may regard “cracking” new devices as a personal mission. When something is released on the market, these alpha geeks buy it for the purpose of taking it apart, deconstructing it, and exploring the ways in which it works. Often, this can lead to benefits for the company which releases the product, as alpha geeks may identify potential security weaknesses and other problems which weren't caught during development.

You can usually identify an alpha geek rather easily. Alpha geeks tend to own a lot of technological toys, and they often relish obscure arguments about technology. They may also provide a great deal of advice, unsolicited or otherwise, to friends and coworkers. This can sometimes be rather useful; a consultation with an alpha geek before a new purchase can sometimes save heartache later.

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mitchell14
Post 9

@watson42- I have a lot of friends like that too. Some of them fulfill all the stereotypes; they wear geeky t shirts and spend a lot of time playing computer games. Others are a lot less noticeably geeky. I appreciate them, although it's also made me feel more like I need to learn to use technology better myself, because then I feel less like I need to ask my friends every time.

watson42
Post 8

Sometimes I feel like all of my friends are alpha geeks compared to me. While sometimes it makes me feel less knowledgeable, at least it means I have people I can ask whenever I need technological help with something.

candyquilt
Post 7

I guess you could say that I'm an 'alpha geek.' I have basically all of the qualities the article mentioned- keeping up with new gadgets, knowing how to use devices and programs and helping others around. But I don't really like the term 'alpha geek' and I think it was coined by people who are not tech-savvy at all.

I don't think anyone would really want to call themselves a 'geek.' In fact, I think the term is a bit demeaning. After all, we are a batch that has a huge impact on how various corporate leaders make decisions about their products. And I think we're the main ones keeping the technology and gadget market going with out interest and money. I think we deserve a better title than 'alpha geek,' don't you think?

truman12
Post 6

There is a cycling team where I live that is all IT workers. They call themselves geeks on wheels. You might expect them to be a bunch of pale guys who are either deathly skinny or extremely overweight. But they are actually one of the better teams in town. They are changing the imagine of the geek one race at a time.

gravois
Post 5

My little brother is an alpha geek and his big thing is LINUX. For those who don't know, this is a computer operating system that is open source. People have been tinkering with it for years. For its advocates, it is the best thing in the world. It is far and away superior to both Apple and Windows.

If you give my brother a chance he will talk about LINUX endlessly. I always secretly roll my eyes when he starts up. And here is the worst thing. I still don't use LINUX.

ysmina
Post 4

@letshearit-- I know how it feels to be listening to an alpha geek and having no idea what he or she just said. My brother is one and sometimes, I'm not even sure if we're speaking the same language. He knows so much technical knowledge about things I haven't even heard of. It's frustrating and even annoying for someone who's not very into technology.

But I agree with @animegal that their expertise can come in handy when you need to make a decision about buying something. I'd rather ask my brother and buy something that completely suits me and my needs rather than regretting paying for it later because I didn't really understand what I was getting. So I think you should bare with it and be kind to your cousin!

I've actually learned quite a few things about computers by being around my brother and the knowledge has come in handy when he's not around. So it was definitely worth listening to him go on and on about technology!

discographer
Post 3

My boss is such an alpha geek. He bought an ipad the first day it came out and always follows newly released gadgets closely. He knows which gadgets are under production by which company, their release dates and what their features are.

He talks about technology and gadgets in his free time and it's very adorable to see the sheer childish excitement and happiness on his face. I don't know how good he is at solving problems since we haven't had too many of them in the office. But I have seen him use different kinds of software and computer programs that I'm personally not familiar with. So I think that he really is the ultimate alpha geek.

letshearit
Post 2

Does anyone know how to gently let an alpha geek down if you don't feel you really need their advice on buying gadgets?

My cousin is always talking about the newest electronics and giving us lots of ideas when we think about purchasing something new. To be honest though, it is all a bit overwhelming as I am not sure how to curb her excitement over new gadgets.

She even has geek pride going and wears her geek t-shirts around. I guess it is good that she is expressing her interests but sometimes I just want to be able to buy a cellphone without getting the third degree.

animegal
Post 1

My best friend is definitely an alpha geek. He is always the first one to get the newest electronic gadgets, even going as far to have them sent in from Japan. This means he sometimes gets neat toys before anyone else in North America is supposed to. They are pretty much his pride and job.

What I love about having an alpha geek as a friend is that he is always willing to help me choose a new computer, or give me tips on how to get my electronics to work better. I am not very tech savvy so I really like having his expertise around. This is especially true before I go and make an expensive purchase.

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