To increase awesome and decrease worldsuck. That is the definition of what it means to be a nerdfighter in a single sentence. You’ll soon see that it is so much more than that, but the core principle of a nerdfighter is make the world better, in anyway you can.
A (Very Brief) History of Nerdfighteria
The year is 2007. YouTube is just rising to prominence, with people such as ZeFrank and lonelygirl15 capturing attention through vlogging in a way that has never been done before. Two brothers, John and Hank Green, until this point having a cordial but not necessarily active relationship, decide to take on a task: one year of no textual communication. No emails, no text messages. Instead, they will take turns making videos for each other every day. The project was called Brotherhood 2.0. At this point, they are just two guys trying to figure out what to fill 2-4 minutes of video with (for this was one of the rules of the project, video must be longer than two minutes, but no more than four, otherwise…PUNISHMENT). Below is the very first vlogbrothers video, if you want a taste of this for yourself.
The project began as something just for them, two brothers striving to make connection and improve their relationship. But the thing about the Internet is, the world can see you. People loved these funny, random, passionate, ranting brothers whose videos varied from talking about world issues to putting peanut butter on their faces, and everything in between. Then, on July 18, 2007, Hank’s video is a song called “Accio Deathly Hallows,” posted the Wednesday before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out. This song became a hit, even being featured on the front page of YouTube, and the vlogbrothers’ fanbase exploded. Every time hank had a video on a Wednesday, he would perform an original song, but this song was different. It accurately predicted things that would happen in Deathly Hallows, and it was very catchy (opinion).
Toward the end of this first year, the first annual Project for Awesome was born. Remember that part where I said that nerdfighters increase awesome and decrease worldsuck? Well, this is how they expand this work to the world. Through the Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck (then informally dubbed, but now a real 501(c)(3) non-profit), YouTubers would post a video promoting their favorite charity on a set day, and all the Youtubers would use the same thumbnails, which now is easy, but at the beginning of Youtube required a bit of innovative thinking. So many of these videos would occur that the front page of YouTube would be filled with all of these videos with the exact same thumbnail. This raised awareness for these charities, and now has escalated into a movement that raises a great deal of money and awareness for some incredible organizations.
After this one year experiment, the brothers realized they didn’t want to stop their videos. To find out more, turn into part 2 of this series, Nerdfighteria, where we discuss the beginning of the culture created around this concept of increasing awesome and decreasing worldsuck.