Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Virtual Subcultures

The internet facilitates thousands of subcultures, from Facebook to the blogosphere to online gaming communities. But some of the most well-known virtual subcultures in existence are housed by YouTube, a video sharing website that gets over two billion hits per day. This seven year old site has given people the power to share and connect in new and innovative ways, and the communities that have developed through it are starting to make an impact.

One of the most prominent virtual communities on Youtube today goes by the name of Nerdfighteria. What started as a one-year video challenge by brothers John and Hank Green (or vlogbrothers) has exploded into an international effort. After gaining a considerable audience and coining the phrase "Nerdfighter" to describe those members of Youtube who follow the brothers' channel, John and Hank decided to take their influence to the next level. The brothers formed what they call "The Foundation to Decrease WorldSuck," a non-profit organization targeted toward decreasing suck levels worldwide. For example, their most recent project has been raising money for Kiva Microfunds, an organization which connects people through lending in order to alleviate poverty. Aside from the direct efforts of the Green brothers, Nerdfighteria claims more than 75 other projects.

The vlogbrothers have created an entire subculture, complete with its own slang, values, traditions, and goals. And it all started with a YouTube video.

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