What’s in a name?

On Friday there was a lighthearted discussion about a hashtag that could be used to compile images of bones on twitter as an identification resource. It’s always a struggle to find the bones you’re after on an image search and #bonegeeks (as it is currently called) will hopefully help to remedy that problem.


The hashtag used will be the one mechanism by which this resource will be readily found in order to be further curated, so it is important to use something short, memorable, descriptive and – importantly – something that isn’t already in use (which is why #boners was decided against). It should also be a term that people feel some sort of affiliation with – and it certainly shouldn’t put people off (another reason why #boners was perhaps unsuitable).

However, this last point raises an issue, since some people clearly were put off – and when I say ‘some people’ I mean a person whose opinion I respect.


Earlier this year Alice made an explicit statement about the use of the term ‘geek’, which puts her comment in context:

“There’s been a movement towards reclaiming the word ‘geek’ but I’d rather get away from it entirely”…”If you say: ‘It’s cool to be a geek,” where does that leave people who don’t consider themselves to be geeks? Aren’t they allowed to be interested in science? Science is for everyone.”

As someone who self-identifies as a bit of a geek (and borderline nerd) I’ve already done my bit of reclaiming and I’m comfortable with it, but Alice’s point is still valid – not everyone who might want to get involved identifies as a geek.

It’s still early days, so if any changes to the hastag are to be made, they need to be made as soon as possible in order to stop the proliferation of hashtags and increase the difficulty of finding information. Perhaps the best idea if to make a poll of unused hashtag suggestions and allow people to vote on their favourite option. Here is such a poll, with any suggestions that have been made included, unless the hashtag is already in use on Twitter.

If you have any other suggestions please add them (on the poll or in the comments) – hopefully we may be able to find a decent hashtag amongst them, that people are happy to use.

4 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. hmm, but one can be a geek about anything… even football, music and fashion (!) as far as I can see it doesn’t just mean science person anymore, it’s just someone who really loves something and knows alot about it. ( and usually wants to tell everyone about it)

    • I would agree – I think the fact is that the word geek has taken on a far wider usage and now relates to anything involving a degree of dedication. This is a good thing to my mind. However, it is a term that one has to self-identify with, otherwise it’s off-putting, which is really the issue in this context.

  2. Pingback: Geekwars? | Zygoma

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