An Open Letter to Professionals for Speak Out

Dear Professional,

I am thrilled that you have managed to turn what you love into a vocation. Maybe you’re an author who has published a book. Maybe you’re an artist with a studio. Maybe you’re a business-savvy professional who helps other people.


Speak Out with your Geek OutYou may have heard of an event called Speak Out with your Geek Out. It’s taking place from Monday, September 12th through Friday, September 16th. This event began with a post I wrote entitled Calling all Geeks! Post About Your Hobbies and it’s now swelled to hundreds of participants. Bloggers range from fans to pros like myself, Jess Hartley, Matt Forbeck, Brennan Taylor, Matt M McElroy, Liz Danforth, Lynne M Thomas and many, many others. We’ll have an official website up shortly. We have a logo. We have a tagline. We have everything we need to make this happen.


Sometime during the week of Monday, September 12th to Friday, September 16th post about what geeky hobby you love. Then, tell us why we should try it, too. Leave your fears (and edition wars) at the door. Forget about your latest rant. Tap into that well of positive energy and share in the excitement of all things geek.

This isn’t just about gaming. This isn’t just about comics or movies or books. This is about taking a stance against negativity and feeling isolated for our interests — whether they be sports, games, music, crafts, whatever — and putting our energy toward being enthusiastic about what we love. This is about people who feel like they’re geeks because of their interest or vocation, and who will stand up and say that’s it is not cool to put them down. They’re not going to be angry about it. Oh, absolutely not. Instead, we will talk about how much they love what they love, what you or I might do for them as pros, and why others should share in this joy, too, in the hopes that others will be more tolerant.

This is not an opportunity to market these people to death. This is not a chance to shill your product or service. Many of these people look up to us because we turned what we love into a hobby or career. This is an opportunity to be a part of the community and lead by example.

I apologize if this post comes off as being a little preachy, but I had a reason to. You see, someone already broke that rule. It was an innocent link, but I want to say something now, before this week of awesome begins. I want to tell you that your fans may be talking about you, and that may be part of the reason why. I want to say that sometimes? People don’t want to talk to a marketer — they want to simply hang out and be themselves without fear that someone is going to sell them something or make them feel bad if they don’t.

Having said that, though, I will tell you that I trust you. I encourage you to show your own enthusiasm for what you do. If that means tying that into a give-a-way to give people the option to participate in your flavor of geek? AWESOME. You have your fans and your audience, and I know you understand the best way to reach them. You are smart and you know that there is a difference between being genuine and throwing sales pitches all over the place. All I’m asking, is that you keep that in mind. In order for this enthusiasm to combat negativity, sometimes we need to remember that community is about multiple people, not one person’s sales.

I look at you, and I see you as a pillar of the community because you are the reason why people love their flavor of geek that much. You are the reason why something like this can happen in the first place. I hope you know how amazing you really are.

Thanks for listening! I wish you continued success in your endeavors. Live long and prosper.


Monica Valentinelli
Founder, Speak Out with your Geek Out

Author and Game Designer who lurks in the dark

Jess Hartley on Tolerance vs. Acceptance for Speak Out with your Geek Out

Today’s post is by Jess Hartley. Recently, a commenter on Twitter asked why we were using the word tolerance instead of acceptance for our event and I asked Jess to handle a detailed response. She nails the reason why and really gives us all something to think about. In this post, she uncovers not only why I’m not defining what geek is, but also why I’m using the word tolerance. Let’s listen to what she has to say.

I take my interpretation of the word “acceptance” from the Eastern philosophical perspective. If I strive for acceptance in a situation, I seek to experience them without effort to change, protest or remove myself from it. And, while I’m great with the first two for most things, I’m afraid I’m really not up for the third.

One of the great things about being a part of Speak Out With Your Geek Out is that it’s inclusive of all forms of geekery. If you’re a “classic” geek and groove on sci-fi movies, computers, fantasy novels and roleplaying games, that’s awesome. Let your geek flag fly! But there’s also more than enough room for music geeks, history geeks, sports geeks, scrapbooking geeks – being geeky is about being more-enthusiastic-than-the-mainstream about whatever it is that floats your boat, regardless of the topic.

If I were to strive for acceptance of all geeks (by my definition) that would mean I was just as happy sitting and listening to Joe Nascar discuss the average times of his favorite driver as I am listening to folks talk about their White Wolf character. And, not only am I not; I have no desire to be. I think it’s completely cool for folks to be as geeky as possible about whatever their chosen focus is. That doesn’t mean I want to hang out and listen. To me, that is why I don’t use the term acceptance. I don’t believe we all have to be interested in, participate in, or even put our support (ie: expend time, energy or resources) towards a geekery that isn’t our own.

However, I do believe in tolerance of geeks and non-geeks alike. Just because I don’t want to spend an hour at my favorite convention attending a panel on fantasy football leagues doesn’t mean that I want to block a FFL geek from doing so, or that I don’t wish her the best in organizing it. I strive not to insult, look down my nose at, put myself above or in other ways treat other forms of geekery as less valuable, less okay, less valid than my own. To me, that is tolerance, and that is something I can strive for in every interaction I have with other people, whether virtual or face-to-face.

That is why I choose the term tolerance, rather than acceptance, when referring to how I want to interact with other geeks.

Ultimately, however, I think that the choice to use one word over the other is a personal one. I choose “Tolerance” because of what it means to me. If “Acceptance” works better for you, and that empowers you to be positive and inclusive; so be it! Let’s concentrate on that, rather than quibbling about the minutiae of whether one positive word is more appropriate than or should be used in place of another positive one.

Especially for word-geeks like me, it’s hard to fight the temptation to nitpick about definitions and interpretations. (Don’t even get me started on how “ironic” is misused!) But investing energy in that argument, and thus creating an unnecessary and potentially divisive line really detracts from the inclusive intent of Speak Out With Your Geek Out. I want less lines between me and the rest of the world, not more.

Why I’m Trying To Keep “Speak Out” as Generic and Simple as Possible

Came across a great post today entitled My Thoughts on Speak Out with your Geek Out. In it, Donna explains how she is already outspoken about her hobbies and wasn’t initially buying into the event. Then, she goes on to talk about how passionate and positive we were, after reading two other posts, and how that struck her. She’s now on board.

Donna is not alone. Many people have stepped forward (as of right now we’re over 600 bloggers on Facebook…). In part, that number has a lot to do with Amanda Yahner Valentine and Jessica Banks who have been filling the event page with their enthusiasm. Though, what’s been interesting is that not everyone has been super excited about the project off the bat. Some were looking for keywords: what defines geek? Others were saying they did this already. But this event is not about what we’re already doing, it’s about what we’re not. And for that, I was thrilled to see Donna’s realization that this may just be something different after all.

I laughed when Donna mentioned her sock collection because I have one, too. While both of us may be perfectly fine with that, there are so, so many people I know out there who aren’t. They are afraid of being isolated or having a stigma for doing what they do — kids and adults. Am I geektastic about my socks? Absolutely. But that’s not all there is to me, just like what Donna had mentioned in her post. We are not just one kind of geek; often, we are many flavors.

For all these reasons and more, this is why I am trying to keep the event as generic as possible.

I hope this week of positivity and light will inspire people to do and say some very awesome things. Which is why I can’t and will continue to strive not to define what geek is. The minute I put a keyword in there, is the minute someone either says: “Well, you’re not including my hobby…” or “You did include my hobby.” is the minute we go down the road of elitism, exclusion and isolation. Instead? What this is all about? That one thing, that one precious thing that is tying us all together — OUR ENTHUSIASM.

The reason why I’m attempting to keep this as simple as possible, is because the more complicated this is, the harder it will be for people to participate and the more challenging it will be to manage. If you don’t have a blog or website, there are many people who’d be willing to host your post, including me. I expect there will be some commentary about geek culture and whatnot that comes out of this, but I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. Maybe all it takes is a little smile and a bunch of happy people to let us look a little deeper into ourselves and realize that maybe, just maybe, we’re not so different after all.

I, for one, am looking forward to seeing all these posts fly. Not just because of the people who share similar interests, but the ones who don’t. I’d love to read more about unique hobbies because hey, maybe one of you will inspire me to try yours.

Tumblr, New Logo and the Goal of 1,000

We are now averaging 100 bloggers a day for this event and there’s already talk of making it an annual occurrence.

Thanks to A.J. Freemont and everyone who voted, we now have a logo. I uploaded it here. You are ENCOURAGED to take this on your website or blog and post about the event that takes place from Monday, September 12th through Friday, September 16th.

<Speak Out with your Geek Out

This logo has been uploaded to the Speak Out with your Geek Out Facebook Event and a new Speak Out with your Geek Out Tumblr account.

Today’s post is about my “wish fulfillment.” I would love to see us hit 1,000 strong. Next week, I’m going to need your help to spread the word and help others get some blogging ideas down. So if ANY of you want to write posts for the Tumblr account or my blog for this, the door is open.

Can We Hit 1,000 Bloggers?

A long weekend is on the horizon for many people, which is why I wanted to give you some food for thought:

I want you to think of this number —> 1,000.

Here’s why:

When I think of the “geek” stereotype, I think of that awful scene in the lunchroom where a bully is pestering a kid about his love of comics, video games, books, dice, Cthulhu or whatever. I think of the name-calling and all the crap that kid has to go through just because she likes to dive into her math books.

And then I think of what it felt like to be in school. How we feel very much alone, even if that’s not the case, because others around us are afraid to speak up. Are fearful that they won’t be as cool, because life is easier if they sit at that lunch table over there.

I think of those kids, and I think of how many of us have made our own cool later on in life. I think of every kid that’s ever been bullied — regardless of shape, color, orientation, culture, religion — and I think of what we can do for them.

And then I think of Speak Out with your Geek Out, where we’ve been averaging 100 bloggers a day signing on.

I think of an army of happy, positive posts about what we love and what we’ll encourage others to share. Of the topics we’ll write to show that we are not a stereotype, that we are something that transcends being stuck in a bucket and forgotten about or bullied for someone else’s amusement.

I think of us standing behind those kids and showing them that there is nothing wrong with being who they are, because we have 1,000 people who may not be just like them, but who share something in common and who have made it through.

Are you with me?

If you are, then let’s make this happen. How can we make it to 1,000 bloggers?

a) 1 big name celebrity

b) 10 popular blogs

c) 100 people tagging 10 of their friends

d) 1,000 people to post their love, their passions during that week and share it with all of us

What do we have control over? Right now?!?!

c) and d)!


Have a great weekend!

Comment on These Logos for Speak Out with your Geek Out

It’s been almost a day since we really started pushing this idea and already we have well over a hundred people signed up on the Facebook event to blog about their geeky hobbies and vocations during the week of September 12th. WOW.

Today, I need your help to comment on these logos provided by two, different individuals. The logos will be used to identify the event and will be free to share with everyone. We’ll probably set up a Facebook fan page and a Tumblr account where people can aggregate their posts the week of, too.

The first is this one graciously provided by Suzanna Reeves.

Speek Out with your Geek Out Option One

The second and third are variations on a theme benevolently given by AJ Freemont from

Speak Out with your Geek Out Option Two

Speak Out with your Geek Out Option Three

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

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Monica Valentinelli > Events > Speak Out with your Geek Out

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