I wasn’t on the trail much over the weekend; I was following a livestream on YouTube. (I can’t even imagine what I would have thought if I had read that sentence 20 years ago!)
15 years ago, after reading a book by John Green (I think it was Looking for Alaska), I started following him and his brother, Hank, on their YouTube channel called VlogBrothers. Hank is the brainchild behind SciShow, another fabulous channel and together the brother have created multiple other channels and platforms. They manage and ship creations by a variety of artists, from their DFTBA (Don’t Forget to be Awesome) warehouse, among many other things. Their following is called Nerdfighteria and I have to say that they were a big factor in my finally being able to own my nerdiness and feel that it was OK to admit to my smarts. I say it calmly but it was actually a fairly big turning point in my life.
Both John and Hank are thoughtful, kind and generous – the year I started following their vlog, they decided to do a weekend event on YouTube to raise money for good works. They invited people to send in videos to the channel to support charities; we would watch and vote on the videos and, if we could, send in money. At the end of the weekend, they split up the money among the top voted groups. And they did a livestream the entire weekend to encourage folks to watch the videos, vote and donate. They called this Project for Awesome.
And 15 years later, it is still awesome although a little more cohesive these days. The first 24 hours of donations go to a couple of specific organizations that Nerdfighteria have supported for many years and then the second 24 hours of donations gets split up among the top groups whose video have been voted on. Lots and lots of perks donated by various online creators. The livestream is a little surreal… YouTubers setting up goals and challenges. My favorite is Destin whose vlog “Smarter Every Day” I have watched for years. Donations during his 2-hour stint get you a plastic dinosaur magnet with your name on it that gets sent to the moon on an electronic pulley system. Honestly I don’t even know how to describe it. Suffice it to say it’s just hysterical and the donations just blast in during his time.
Anyway, I watched quite a bit of the livestream, including staying up too late both nights and then watching early in the morning. As the project rolled toward its end, donations again ramped up as John and Hank finished up the livestream with a lot of thanks and champagne poppers and confetti. About 15 minutes before the end, the counter clicked over the $3 million dollar mark. I have to say I got a little verklempt.
The happiness that I get from being part of the nerdfighter community makes me think a lot about the Trail and my baboon companions there. I am not a serious member of the group and I only know one other nerdfighter personally but as a group they follow their leaders… they are kind and thoughtful and generous as a whole, exactly like those I know on the Trail. No nastiness, no name calling, no mud slinging. Wish I could spread that feeling out to the whole world.
Tell me about some other nice, thoughtful, kind folks you know!