Millie Winzinowich Nerdfighter

What is a Nerdfighter?

A Nerdfighter is a term that refers to people who watch the Vlogbrothers YouTube channel . But that also has expanded recently to people who have read John Green’s books or like Hank Green’s music or participated in any of the Vlogbrothers’ activities like Project for Awesome or Kiva.org .

Who are the Vlogbrothers?

Vlogbrothers is a YouTube channel run by John and Hank Green and these two brothers use the channel to correspond biweekly with each other.

What is the Project for Awesome?

The Project for Awesome is a yearly event that happens on YouTube. It’s organized by the Vlogbrothers and basically what happens is people contribute money and people post videos about different organizations online to support them and people vote for which organization the money goes towards. There are different perks you can get for participating in the Project for Awesome. For example this year I contributed $150 so I got one of John Green’s shirts. It’s just this fun way to raise money and involve the public in who they want to support.

Did you get involved this year or any year previously?

I was involved for the first time this year. I have taken part in voting in previous years but this year I decided to contribute money for the first time which was awesome.

What is Kiva.org?

Kiva.org is an organization that allows you to loan or donate money to people in Third World countries who are trying to start their own business. So you contribute money and then what happens is that they will pay you back. There’s a Nerdfighter forum that does it and John and Hank keep track of how much they have contributed.

What else do Nerdfighters do?

Nerdfighters are generally this really positive force within the Internet. Oftentimes I find that the Internet in general can be a very negative place but what I really like about Nerdfighters is that it seems like this very supportive environment that has kind of popped up. There are different opportunities like Nerdfighter Gatherings that happen. A few weeks ago just within Calgary there was a Nerdfighter board game night. There are book clubs and so much culture within it like Hank writes music and John writes books. That’s a big part of what the Nerdfighter community has become.

Is it mostly for young people?

That’s kind of the beauty of it. There’s no direct age that they have — you can be 65 and be a Nerdfighter and you can be eight years old. I would say the majority of people are between the ages of 18 and 30 — I know there were some polls done recently and that was the consensus — but it’s not restricted to any age group. [The Vlogbrothers] make sure their content is friendly to all ages.

How big is the Calgary community?

We have a Facebook group and it just recently hit 500 but those are only people who have identified themselves on social media as Nerdfighters. It’s hard to tell.

Is it hard to identify yourself as a Nerdfighter since most people won’t know what it is?

You’d be surprised. You go out into the world thinking that this is kind of like a secret club and you’ll stumble upon people. Lots of times it doesn’t start out as “hey I’m a Nerdfighter” but it starts out as “hey have you read this John Green book?” Then you kind of dive into it and realize it. There’s tons of ways to identify yourself whether it’s through apparel that you wear or what things you participate in but once you identify yourself as that other people will know what it is.

What are some of the ways that you identify yourself as a Nerdfighter?

I watch the videos all the time I’m part of the Calgary Nerdfighters group on Facebook I even have a Nerdfighter pen pal who lives in Ontario that I correspond with and that’s kind of cool. I wear the apparel read the books and obviously I’m an enthusiast when I talk about them.

What are some common misconceptions people have about Nerdfighters?

The title can be a bit confusing for people because it sounds like we’re literally fighting nerds but it’s more that we identify ourselves as nerds and then fighting the “world suck” as the Vlogbrothers would say. We’re actually this united group. Another is that these are “Internet friends” that you have and now all over groups are popping up where it’s a safe environment. Lots of people look at meeting people online as unsafe obviously you do have to take precautions but online communities are becoming a big part of people’s everyday lives especially in our generation. [Being a Nerdfighter] is something you actively promote yourself as and are proud to be part of that community.

To find out more check out the Vlogbrothers youtube.com/vlogbrothers or the Calgary Nerdfighter group facebook.com/groups/calgarynerdfighters/