Megan over at A Geeky Gal blog created this challenge for fellow geeks to share all about what makes them nerdy. You can see her completed challenge post here.
When I was in college, YouTube was just starting out as a place for funny viral videos and internet personalities. Getting lost in YouTube videos was my favorite way to procrastinate doing my studying.
It was a glorious time. There were some great classics like “Greatest freak out ever”:
The “Shoes” song:
And “Chocolate Rain”:
It was also around that time that I discovered my favorite nerdy vloggers, and they are still my favorite today: Hank and John Green, on the vlogbrothers channel.
The two brothers were already building successful careers for themselves when they started their vlog, John as an author and Hank as an entrepreneur.
When the vlog started in 2007, it was called Brotherhood 2.0. Hank and John created this project as a social experiment in which they would cease all text-based communication and only have conversations through daily video blogs.
I don’t remember anymore when I started watching exactly, but I was immediately hooked on the two brothers’ project.
They proudly called themselves nerds at a time when it wasn’t yet the cool thing to do. I loved their intelligent discussions and witty humor.
They talked about everything from books to politics to pop culture, but in a way that I related to HARD. Their combination of awesomeness and awkwardness spoke to me. They sounded wise and worldly but also young and sometimes a bit dorky, in an endearing and engaging way.
They had a lot of great videos that ranged from educational to silly. One of my favorite goofy ones was Hank’s boredom-induced lip-syncing of some weird techno/Lord of the Rings mashup:
The Green brothers became a huge YouTube success, and another thing I love about them is what they did with that success.
They branded their fans “Nerdfighters”, and advocated for them to take on and share projects that would make the world better or “decrease suck” as John says.
Nerdfighters were encouraged to form a supportive community of like-minded nerds. Hank and John preached innovation, kindness, and intelligent thought and discussion to their followers.
Even after the Brotherhood 2.0 project ended, the brothers went on making videos and supporting their community. I haven’t kept up with the daily videos, but I do check in on what Hank and John are up to from time to time. And what they’re up to is always awesome.
Here’s a very recent video in which Hank analyzes modern morality, inspired by the TV show The Good Place (a show I love for it’s philosophy references and humorous take on the age-old question, what does it mean to be good?):
The vlogbrothers and the Nerdfighters community created my first sense that being a nerd could make you part of a community. It was around this time that I really started seeing myself as a nerd, by the more current definitions.
“Nerd” is not a word we use anymore to describe someone who is lame, overly eccentric, or completely lacking social skills and friends.
A nerd is someone who is intelligent, creative, and passionate, and wants to improve the world.
Thanks Hank and John for being part of the cultural movement that changed that definition.