Hank Green is one half the YouTube creators The Vlog Brothers, who he co-creates with his brother John Green. Hank is the entrepreneurial brother who has the leadership role on many of their co-ventures and has launched several of his own innovative charitable and education-based projects. But going back to 2006, when Hank and John Green first started to collaborate, YouTube was the dominant platform. And that’s where they first emerged as pioneers in the Influencer Economy.
“It was 2007, YouTube had been around culturally and people had known of it for about a year,” Hank said of his origins on the platform. So they just started making videos, creating Brotherhood 2.0, a year during which the Green brothers communicated daily with each other by video instead of by phone, e-mail, or text messages. “A fun, jokey, trying-to-one-up-each-other brother project” is how Hank explained it.
One of his vlogs to John, a musical tribute to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, made the front page of YouTube. Many fans attribute their discovery of the Greens’ yearlong experiment to that “Accio Deathly Hallows” song—coming across the video and then binging on the rest of the vlogs. After their successful year of Brotherhood 2.0, the Greens honed their vision and created their new Vlogbrothers YouTube channel with similar content and shared it with a growing community that they called “Nerdfighters.” This online community of Vlogbrothers’ supporters joined forces with Hank and John, and their vision evolved over time.
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I first knew Hank and John as the creators of VidCon, the largest conference for online video world, bringing together over 20,000 video content creators, the web video online community, and industry executives to an annual conference in Anaheim, California.
Even before VidCon, the Vlogbrothers understood how YouTube-wide collaborations could help to improve lives. Since 2007, their Project for Awesome (P4A) has been an annual call for videos from fellow YouTubers and Nerdfighters that highlight charitable causes in everything from education and health care to food insecurity. In December of each year, thousands of people post videos on the across YouTube, where both influencers and the community promote and raise funds for these charities. Video creators are instructed to tag the videos with P4A in the video descriptions in order to help The Vlogbrothers and others discover each video. Joining forces with the crowdsourcing website Indiegogo, the 2014 and 2015 Project for Awesome managed to raise over a million dollars.
Hank and John Green's Vlog Brothers YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/vlogbrothers
Don't Forget to Be Awesome: store.dftba.com/
Hank Green's website: www.hankgreen.com/
Project for Awesome: www.projectforawesome.com/
Crash Course: www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse