Does Being a Techie Make You a Hipster?

Amanda Marochko


We’re living in a world where sporting an eclectic blend of current fashions and vintage appeal more or less makes you a hipster in society’s eyes. In fact, this obsession with quirky vintage style has spawned the quip that yesterday’s geek is today’s hipster. Being ahead of the curve is a tenet of hipster culture, and usually means staying on top of changing technology, which in turn reinforces the techie stereotype. But where do these social constructs begin and end? What separates the techies from your lucid, Urban Outfitters enthusiast, and can the two peacefully coexist within one persona?

Techie Hipster

Hipster versus Techie

The perpetual battle between being hipster and being techie is one filled with irony and earnestness. Techie and geek culture is gaining mainstream traction because hipster culture has adopted many of its styles. However, there are some blatant characteristics that differentiate the two.

Techies are early adopters. They don’t wait in line for the new iPhone unless they whole-heartedly believe it is the best model. And, if ever questioned about their motives, techies have done their research. Some may even recommend hybrids of two competitors, such as Apple hardware with a Windows interface, in order to get the best value added outcome. Those who genuinely love technology can give you a lot of insight into gadgets. Their passion becomes intertwined with their daily activity, with function over fashion being a general rule of thumb. Brands exist, and sometimes techies do get accustomed to a particular brand, but that isn’t to say that the brand defines the product’s appeal.

Hipsters feed off of the underground culture, but cool doesn’t necessarily translate into practical. Sometimes we see this with the integration of vintage computers and gaming consoles. Yes, they’re still fun and even fascinating, but technologically obsolete, rendering that vintage Macintosh from the early 90s more of a paperweight than a piece of equipment.


Your phones’ apps can help identify whether or not you fall into the technology enthusiast category. If you have jail-broken your smart phone, and done so by yourself, you’re treading along the enthusiast margin. Depending in the type of techie you are, your applications could vary from Huffington Post to Wolfram Alpha, but they primarily serve a knowledge function.

Image Conscious

Hipsters are far more image conscious, and this will inevitably be seen in their applications. Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, among other networking tools are often the focal point of their iPhone. And, I say iPhone, because let’s face it – they simply look cooler than the competition, and for those who aren’t as familiar with complex interfaces, it’s the obvious choice.

Also, computer skills vary between the two demographics. The techies are typically more familiar with back-end developing as opposed to the hipsters, who would know more about front-end. In laymen’s terms, it means that techies have a greater understanding of hard coding and function, whereas hipsters may know a thing or two in applications like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. Both skill sets are highly valued, and are important when considering the overall value of a gadget. There is also the age-old battle within video editing software. Techies stay behind the glory days of Final Cut Pro 7-9, but hipsters opt for Final Cut Pro X.  It’s all about the interface: Final Cut Pro 7-9 has detail oriented functions and Final Cut Pro X has a simple and user-friendly format, complete with a vast array of presets.

Creation versus Construction

The distinction is creation versus construction. Hipster culture is far more arts-and-culture-oriented and certain products really allow for this lifestyle to flourish. I don’t blame hipsters for adopting Apple products – they breed creativity. It’s far simpler to edit a photo, design a logo or create a video using iOS technology. But, if you want build a website, customize a pre-existing application, or use your laptop to simply write essays – you don’t need a Macintosh for that. In fact, for more complicated coding, a PC stands out far above an iMac.

Techie Programming

So can you be both technologically savvy and hip? Of course. There are techies who find comfort in Apple products, and hipsters who know Javascript. However, there are always those who fall completely into the stereotype. To those, I say, embrace it. Don’t pretend to be a techie unless you fully believe in it, and that includes sacrificing brand loyalty from time to time. And, for those techies trying to fit in with the hipsters – make sure to tweet regularly and Instagram plenty of food pictures!