A geek, as defined by Wikipedia -- where else? -- is "a person who is fascinated, perhaps obsessively, by obscure or very specific areas of knowledge and imagination." Lately, it's exemplified in one's prowess with technology and new media. Famous geeks include Benjamin Franklin, director George Lucas, Sen. John Edwards and HDnet's Mark Cuban.
You can spot a geek a mile away. We're the ones who line up outside the Apple Store minutes after our supreme leader, Steve Jobs, unveils the latest MacBook. We're also the primary evangelists driving the application of social media and Web 2.0 technologies in business.
To fully understand how digital media and technology-empowered consumers are changing the marketing landscape, it helps if you embrace your inner geek.
One of the easiest things to do is to start using bookmarklets -- sometimes called favelets -- which are bookmarks that perform a specific function rather than take you to a webpage. For example, when I click one bookmarklet in my browser, it automatically tells me who's blogging about the page I'm viewing. Another pulls up related pages from Google (for a full list of my favorite bookmarklets, visit micropersuasion.com/bookmarklets.html).
Second, open a Del.icio.us account and start sharing links. The social-bookmarking site will help you find people with whom you share similar interests and that kind of serendipity could spark your next big idea. (Del.icio.us, by the way, offers bookmarklets that streamline the link-sharing process.)
Finally, dabble with widgets. These are little interactive tools that stream specialized bits of information to you. Some, such as Yahoo's Widget Engine, run on your desktop. Others, such as those found at Netvibes.com, run in a browser. There are widgets that stream stock information and headlines and more sophisticated ones that pull images from Flickr and blog searches, too.
Don't be afraid of your inner geek. There's no denying that, like it or not, geeks are driving your marketing agenda. If you don't believe me, ask Diet Coke and Mentos.
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Steve Rubel is a marketing strategist and blogger. He is senior VP in Edelman's Me2Revolution practice.