I f you've been following "Nerd Among the Herd" for a while, you know I think everyone has the potential to be a nerd.

The only criteria I have for being a nerd are that you're passionate about something and you share it with other people. If you are straight up obsessed with CrossFit, trail running, and your paleo diet and you don't shut up about it on Twitter -- congrats, you're a fitness nerd.

I'm sick of people shoving their "nerd cred" in each other's' faces.

"She thinks she's a nerd because she watches 'Game of Thrones,' but she hasn't even read the books!"

Who cares?! She's excited about the show and maybe if you weren't such a jerk she'd take time between seasons to read the books and get even more excited.

Jessica L. Ryan
Jessica L. Ryan

Bitching at or about people who don't have the same passions (or are passionate in a different way) is making fun of them for something they care about; it's being a bully.

I get it. Historically, nerds are bullied, and we need some way to make us feel better about who we are, something to set us apart. It's natural to build hierarchies in communities. It's natural to create standards and form sub-groups.

But the reason so many people turn to smaller communities, and especially nerdy ones, is because they already feel left out. They want to be accepted and to belong.

So the only "Star Trek" they've ever experienced is the movie with Zachary Quinto. Maybe they don't even know who Wil Wheaton is. So the only Fitzgerald they've ever read is "The Great Gatsby." So they haven't climbed a fourteener.

Guess what? Your responsibility as a nerd is not to become the exclusive gatekeeper of your fandoms. Someone's nerdiness is not based on peer review. You are not more awesome than someone else because you've been in a fandom longer, or because you just conquered a V9, or because you can recite every Rockies' player's batting average from the last five years.

You need to take your nerd cred, and shove it.

I know you want to be that special snowflake who discovered the world of craft beer all on your own like a big boy. The reality is, someone turned you on to it. Someone knew that you didn't have as much "cred" as they did, but they noted your interest and welcomed you into the fold.

As we learned earlier this week, there are enough bullies in the world. We don't need standards of nerd cred to add to that negativity. If you notice a "noob," or a "poser," or someone who just doesn't have enough cred, welcome them to your community.

Follow Wheaton's Law: "Don't be a dick."

Jessica Ryan is a senior media studies major at CU. She writes about nerdy things once a week for the Colorado Daily. On Twitter: @JessicaLRyan.