NerdWorld.com Unveils Web Site About Nerd Culture and Lifestyle
For Immediate Release
October 10, 2000
Burlington, Mass. Nerdworld Media today unveiled Nerdworld.com, a web site about nerd culture for the nation's rapidly growing nerd community. Nerdworld.com provides penetrating insights into the off-beat and sometimes quirky ways that nerds live, work and play.
"When it comes to popular culture, nerds are probably the most under-served community in the nation," says Russell Stein, chief suit of NerdWorld Media. "Today, I'm happy to say, millions of disenfranchised nerds now finally have a web site devoted just to them. We're the only web site that covers nerdly haute couture, nerd dating, or nerd sports like croquet and backgammon."
Nerd of the Week is the site's most popular feature. More than 1,000 nerds were nominated for the honor in the four months the website was being prototyped. "It really took on a life of its own," says Stein. "We started posting the nominations and it snowballed." The Nerd of the Week wins a write-up on the web site and a T-shirt with, what else, the NerdWorld.com logo. An archive of past winners is posted on the web site.
The exact size of the nation's nerd population is hard to determine, but Stein believes it numbers in the tens of millions. "The nerd community is a lot bigger than most people realize," says Stein. "The Internet, healthcare, software, computer, defense and transportation industries all have significant nerd clusters. Education is literally teeming with nerds. They're everywhere. And yet until now nerd culture has been practically invisible."
So what is a nerd? The classical definition is a person who is single-minded, accomplished or passionate about topics that are not necessarily mainstream. The term has traditionally been used to refer to people involved in scientific or technical pursuits who are felt to be socially inept. "I quarrel with the last part," says Stein. "I don't think nerds are socially inept, they're just very different and frequently misunderstood."
While most visitors to Nerdworld.com are in fact nerds, the site also attracts thousands of near nerds and nerd wannabes. "A lot of people visit our site just to tell us about the important nerds in their lives. They frequently thank us for helping them understand that they're not alone. We help them realize that while nerds may seem quirky, odd and obsessive, they're really quite admirable," says Stein.
"We also get a lot of nerd wannabes who may be undergoing important life changes and want to get in touch with their Inner Nerd. They may worry about strange compulsions to memorize Pi to a hundred digits or play computer games for days on end. They come to our web site and learn that it's normal nerd behavior."
Nerdworld.com was founded in 1995 as one of the Internet's first web search engines. It gradually added other services, including chat sessions and bulletin boards -- the site still supports 11,000 assemblies with 55,000 registered users -- as well as calendar and bookmarking services. Content focused on news about technology products and services. This spring, Stein and his fellow nerds decided to focus completely on nerd culture, lifestyle and workplace issues.
"We had one of those blinding-flash-of-the-obvious moments," says Stein. "Every web site catering to this community focuses on technical issues. But other than a few comic strips and business books about Silicon Valley millionaires, nobody really talks about nerds as people. We decided to change that."
Nerdworld.com celebrates nerd lifestyle and popular culture, including nerd work, fashion, dating, cooking, sports and entertainment. Nerdworld.com distributes a free weekly newsletter to email subscribers, and also conducts Nerd surveys on a wide variety of topics. The site also features nerd chat rooms and assemblies, Nerd IQ Tests, bookmarking and calendar services, and a Nerd store selling one-of-a-kind Nerdly items.
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