TBH, I collect artbooks, watch anime via fansubs, purchase them when I can afford them via cons, and collect hundreds of figurines of kosmos (goddammit my mom thinks i'm les cuz of them), but srsly,
Anime is viewed as an interesting past time, it makes one's reputation have an artistic flair within the areas I grew up in, In Canada.
however, if it weren't for anime, I doubt I would have as much common ground with my peers upon entering uni knowing not even a single soul, same with Highschool, nightschool etc.
The popular anime series such as deathnote, claymore, and code geass are all common ground for discussion of favourite characters, plot development, and a tendency to notice what who and who's favourite genre is.
It allows for social networks, and interactions to be more interesting, because there can be inside jokes that link back to things like 'spinzaku' 'just as planned' etc
But then again, you're probably noticing the overall subjectivity in my interpretation of otaku, as well as the reality that, HAY SHE'S IN UNIVERSITY LULZ MUST BE A NERD.
But tbh, I sleep in class, barely pass, watch episodes of geass/persona/higurashi etc in class.... doodle anime styled drawings etc..