Atlanta Considered: Atlanta's Geek Culture

Mar 11, 2016

This week for Atlanta Considered, we “consider” Atlanta’s geek culture and why it matters.

It matters because Atlanta is home to The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries, Dragon Con, 75 video game companies and much more. 

And when you add it all up, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce says the economic impact of geeks on the city is well into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

It has such a presence here that the Chamber is featuring the city’s Geek assets at Austin’s annual South By Southwest festival.

Atlanta-based geek blogger Emma Loggins of FanBolt.com speaks on a panel Monday called “The Rise of Digital Comic Book Geek Culture.”

Here’s our conversation:

Bevington: Let's begin with some definitions. How do you define "geek" as opposed to, say, "nerd?"

Loggins: I define "geek" as being really passionate about something regardless of what it is. Whether it's cooking or a television show or the arts or something that you're passionate about. A nerd is more "book smart" to me. Not to say you can't "nerd out" over something too. I see tons of people that know so much about Dr. Who or Star Trek of whatever it may be and they "nerd out" over it in addition to "geeking out" over it.

Bevington: They're sort of used interchangeably.

Loggins: Definitely.

Bevington: So how do you characterize Atlanta's geek culture?

Loggins: Atlanta's got something really special going on. We have five Sci-Fi conventions throughout the year, the biggest being Dragon Con which has grown so massively even in the six years that I've been going to it. It's a place that people can come and they can feel comfortable about what they're passionate about and escape from the daily routine and meet people that share their same passions. That goes even beyond the conventions. We have great geek spots throughout the city like Joystick Game Bar where you can go and play games and geek out with other people who share your passions.

Bevington: It really is about community and that's something that you're building on your website.

Loggins: Exactly.

Bevington: So why is this geek culture growing in Atlanta?

I think Atlanta as a whole is still becoming ultimately what it's going to become. It's interesting to me about the city in comparison to New York or L.A. They've already established themselves. They're already what they're going to be. Atlanta's still figuring it out which is really exciting. I think with all of they really popular television shows and movies that we have filming here that are in that genre space it's bringing so much of that community to Atlanta because they want to go and see the sites that are used for filming or they want to go to these nerdy spots and meet others that are like them and these conventions. Dragon Con is so special. It's a giant Halloween party over Labor Day weekend. It's all about community coming together and meeting each other and having a memorable weekend.

Bevington: When you're in Austin, what is your argument for why should people should consider Atlanta -- why geek-minded people should consider Atlanta? 

Loggins: There's just so many awesome things to do here in that space. And I would say that's continually growing. A bar opened up last year called My Parents' Basement which is a comic book-themed bar. There's still so many more places like this popping up. As a whole, we have the highest ratio of video game stores and book stores and everything that nerds love -- we have the highest concentration of it to our population. So there are so many options here for what you love.