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The Vlogbrothers are a pair of YouTube video bloggers and brothers John and Hank Green. Since they began vlogging in 2007 with the Brotherhood 2.0 project, the brothers gained a large fan following, known as Nerdfighters. They have since continued to be involved in the YouTube community, creating an annual conference for online video viewers and creators known as VidCon.
On January 1st, 2007, John and Hank Green launched Brotherhood 2.0, a project during which the brothers ceased all text based contact for one year and only kept contact through a series of video blogs, which they released publicly via thier YouTube channel and through the Brotherhood 2.0 website. The series began with a video uploaded by Hank (shown below, left) explaining that they would take turns uploading videos each day for the entire year. The two were not allowed to communicate by any other means including text messages, email and phone calls. The following day, John responded (shown below, right) from his own YouTube channel sparksflyup.
Though the series did not gain much news media attention while it was airing, Hank's July 18th video "Accio Deathly Hallows" (shown below, left) about his excitement for the release of the final Harry Potter book went viral, gaining 1.6 million views as of August 2013. Throughout 2007, they uploaded 259 Brotherhood 2.0 videos. At the end of the year, the brothers uploaded an acoustic song covering the highlights of the year both personally and on YouTube, naming other prominent YouTubers including Chris Crocker, Tay Zonday and Lonelygirl15.
After the series concluded, the Vlogbrothers continued to post videos on both of their channels and launched a new website called Nerdfighters. In addition to everyday vlogs, they have launched a number of spin-off series including science themed Sci-Show, educational themed Crash Course and Hankgames, a series of Let's Play videos. As of August 2013, the Vlogbrothers channel has more than 1.3 million subscribers, more than 347 million total views and averages approximately 144,000 views per day. John and Hank maintain active Tumblr blogs and an unofficial Facebook fan page has more than 29,000 likes as of August 2013.
Project for Awesome
On December 17th, 2007, the Vlogbrothers launched Project For Awesome, a project encouraging YouTubers to create videos in support of their favorite charities to raise money for them. The first video (shown below, left) offered a thumbnail image for uploaders to use on their videos in hopes that people's streams would be flooded with the image. The next year, an official YouTube account for the project was created. The project has continued annually, with 2012 marking the launch of a joint Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign (shown below, right) to raise money for the charities featured in the top five community-chosen videos. Between the campaign and other donations, the 2012 project raised a total of $483,296 and generated more than 724,000 comments on the submitted videos.
In 2010, the Vlogbrothers organized the first annual VidCon for professionals, creators and fans of online video to gather for meet and greets, panels, performances and other events. The premiere event was held July 9th through 11th in Los Angeles, selling out with more than 1,400 attendees. Each year, the conference has grown and in 2013, more than 12,000 people came to the sold out event.
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
In April 2012, Hank Green and Streamy Award-winning video writer Bernie Su launched the YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (shown below, left), offering a modern retelling of Jane Austen's 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice through personal vlogs and tweets from the characters. The series attracted a large fandom, with the main character's YouTube account gaining more than 218,000 subscribers by August 2013. After the success of the series, the crew began adapting Austen's unfinished work Sandition for YouTube in the series Welcome to Sandition (shown below, right) which launched in January 2013.
On July 26th, 2013, the Vlogbrothers launched Subbable, an online video platform that allows users to subscribe to channels for a donation. While donations are not required to view the content, they can be exchanged for perks from the creator, similar to a Kickstarter campaign. In less than a week, the site had raised more than $30,000 in subscription fees.
As early as September 2007, the term "Nerdfighters" became associated with fans of the Vlogbrothers series, according to Urban Dictionary. The only requirement is that Nerdfighters are made "entirely of awesome" (shown below) instead of bones and skin. They also work together to "reduce world suck" and make life a better place. By February 2009, Nerdfighters began to collaborate outside of YouTube beginning with a Facebook page that has accrued more than 7,400 likes as of August 2013. That September, the single topic Tumblr Eff Yeah Nerdfighters! launched and in April 2010, the /r/nerdfighters subreddit was created. Fans also gather on Ning and Tumblr.
Nerdfighters were chronicled by the Daily Dot in August 2012, who noted the large amount of Nerdfighters attending that year's Harry Potter convention, LeakyCon. Later that year, a documentary about the community titled A Film To Decrease Worldsuck (shown below) was released, with six showings in the US and Ireland as of August 2013. In March 2013, the New Yorker examined the positivity within the fandom and that July, NPR interviewed five people about their participation within the group.
Don't Forget To Be Awesome / DFTBA
Don't Forget To Be Awesome (often abbreviated to DFTBA) is the catchphrase of the Vlogbrothers, which they began to use at the end of their vlogs in 2007. The phrase eventually began to spread within the Nerdfighter fandom, spawning a variety of different parodies and image macros. Both the phrase and its abbreviation can be found as hashtags on Tumblr and Twitter.
Humpy Hank refers to a series of photoshopped images showing Hank Green humping a number of various objects. In April 2011, Vlogbrothers uploaded a video depicting Hank humping the Google sign (shown below, left) recorded while visiting their headquarters. Soon after,the single topic Tumblr Humpy Hank was created to collect and curate fanmade GIFs of Hank humping other objects (shown below, right). That June, Hank responded with a video of him humping various objects around his hometown.
Dave Green is the name of a fictional entity created by the fans of the series and purported as the elusive third Green brother who is little known to the audience due to his lack of talent in comparison to his siblings. The idea was first proposed by Tumblr user CyberGum on January 20th, 2014:
"I had this idea for a story a while back where John and Hank Green had a third brother that nobody on the internet knew about because he was entirely non-noteworthy in comparison to his brothers and he just never really came up.
There would be a scene where the Green family sits down for dinner and their parents ask them what’s new in their lives, and John’s like “Well they’re making an awesome movie out of my NYT best-selling book” and Hank goes “And I’m winning an Emmy for this awesome web series that I created” and then there’s this big pause and everyone looks at the other brother (let’s call him Dave Green).
Then Dave looks up from his food and says “Well, I just made third shift supervisor at Wendy’s,” and their parents do that thing parents do where they pretend to be really proud of you but it’s really incredibly patronizing.
I did not write this story because it sounds incredibly depressing. I think being a third Green brother who wasn’t creative and talented and successful sounds like it would be pretty unbearable.
Also, this is the sort of thing that makes me kind of glad to be an only child."
On January 23rd, Hank Green re-blogged CyberGum's proposal on his Tumblr blog Edwardspoonhands with the captions:
A moment of silence for Dave Green.
In a Vlogbrothers video uploaded on January 24th, both Green brothers answered questions from viewers submitted through Twitter. One viewer asked about Dave Green, prompting Hank to explain his Tumblr origins to John.
On January 26th, Tumblr user perfectimmelmannturn posted a photo of Hank and John next to a photoshopped stick figure wearing a "Dave" name tag.
On January 27th, John re-blogged the photo on his personal Tumblr blog Fishboatproceeds with the caption:
"Great to see Dave Green making a public appearance at a nerdfighter gathering."
On January 26th, YouTuber Zoe Hatorlock uploaded a video titled "It's Not Easy Being Dave Green," a song set to the tune of Five for Fighting's "It's Not Easy."
 The Daily Dot – DFTBA: Behind the Vlogbrothers' Nerdfighters movement