Friday, February 24, 2012
Outsider View: Nerdfighteria
What is the appeal of vlogbrothers? How are Hank and John Green able to entertain their audience in a way different from other forms of public media?
I sat down with Logan Anderson, a fellow college student at Belmont University, to talk about Nerdfighteria. I started our conversation by asking a few questions about his familiarity with YouTube and Nerdfighteria. Logan identifies himself as a casual video watcher, saying, "I never really utilize my YouTube account that much. I just have it." I asked him if he had ever heard of vlogbrothers before our interview. He replied that he "had never heard of vlogbrothers, but [he] had heard of John just because he wrote those books." John Green, the oldest brother, is the author of several New York Times' Bestselling novels, such as Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars. While Logan was not familiar with Nerdfighteria, he was familiar with John Green’s work and his popularity in the youth fiction genre.
I decided that it would be best to show Logan a video to familiarize him with vlogbrothers, the foundation of Nerdfighteria. We proceeded to watch one of John Green’s video blog posts entitled, “Life is Wierd. Also Beautiful” in which John explains his friendship with several interesting people he knew in college. When the video was over, I asked Logan what his immediate impression of vlogbrothers was, to which he responded, “I like how he chops up the video. I don’t know if they always do that...” I explained that each of the vlogbrothers videos is , as a rule, under four minutes. “Oh, okay, so they try to get, like, very fast,” Logan responded, snapping his fingers, “alright, that’s cool, that’s really cool, then. I like that. Because it keeps you entertained. I didn’t really deviate at all, but if it was just him talking I probably would have deviated, or my mind would have wandered. But I think it’s really cool what they’re doing.”
Now that Logan had seen a vlogbrothers video, I asked him what he thought made vlogbrothers so appealing to their 650,000+ subscribers. According to Logan, “they pull in a huge audience because they’re in so many different medias. They cover broad interests.” What he meant was that Nerdfighteria was popular because there is something for everyone, from musicians to science geeks to literature buffs.
I then showed Logan a little more of what Nerdfighteria was like by taking them to their various websites, including Nerdfighters.com, DFTBA.com, and Hank and Johns other YouTube channels. When asked if he would consider being more involved in Nerdfighteria after seeing everything Hank and John are involved in, Logan replied, “Yeah, it’s really interesting. I should utilize this. Their YouTube channel’s really cool-looking. I didn’t know anything about [nerdfighters.com]. It’s like a whole ‘nother universe or something, I had no idea. But yes, totally, it sounds like there’s something for everybody there, so.” Knowing something more about Nerdfighteria changed Logan’s initial impression of it. While at first he seemed indifferent toward the virtual subculture, he ended the interview by explaining how it helped shape his opinion of John, “I didn’t know what John’s personality was or anything, so now I know. Now I can definitely see why he’s so nerdy in his writing and stuff, so it’s nice to see that side, I guess, of people.”