"We're Nerdfighters. We fight against suck....we fight for awesome. We fight using our brains, our hearts, our calculators and our trombones."
Nerdfighters are dedicated to increasing the level of awesome in the world, and decreasing the levels of suckiness. This is really all it means to be a Nerdfighter... Well, almost. Technically, anyone can be a Nerdfighter, and you may indeed share all the core beliefs of Nerdfighting and not even know it. But it is unlikely that you will call yourself a Nerdfighter unless you are a fan of the Vlogbrothers, AKA John and Hank Green. They are the originators of the term and the initiators of most of the higher-profile Nerdfighting events. But you can certainly ignore them and still be a Nerdfighter.
“If you want to be a Nerdfighter, you are a Nerdfighter”
How To Be a Nerdfighter: A Vlogbrothers FAQ
While there are many ways to fight worldsuck, the Vlogbrothers and the the Nerdfighter website have undertaken a number of projects to help Nerdfighters concentrate their awesomeness in group efforts.
- The Project for Awesome (P4A) event provides exposure for dozens (if not hundreds) of charities every December, and raises tens of thousands of dollars each year.
- The Kiva Nerdfighter team has loaned out $837,825 as of August 01, 2012.
- Nerdfighters have been a large network of support for the Uncultured project to help underprivileged children in (mostly) Bangladesh.
- And then there are dozens of smaller grassroot pleas for and responses to charities and local organizations, too numerous to list and more-or-less unverifiable in their effectiveness. Still, it appears that good is being done in many ways and on many levels.
While these are some of the more visible things the Nerdfighters have done, raising money for charity is not really the main reason for joining the ranks of Nerdfighters. The Nerdfighters are a loosely connected community, providing a place to hang out with like-minded people both on-line and in real life, and while most of them actively support the Random Acts of Kindness mentality, they also spend a lot of time talking about all the random crap that all humans talk about. And as you might expect, there is quite a bit of obsessing over computers, the internet, funky new slang terms, and especially about vlogging.
"[A] Nerdfighter can be described as a person who enjoys learning for themselves for their own entertainment and benefit, rejoicing with others who enjoy a similar ideal, and being an individual who wishes to help make the world a better place through a tight-knit community that spans the globe. Nerdfighteria is an open community, and anyone can join. The only rules of the community are: 1) Don’t be mean, and 2) DFTBA, coined by the Vlogbrothers meaning: Don’t Forget to Be Awesome."
-- Wikipedia: Vlogbrothers.
It is fair to say that the Nerdfighters are primarily a Vlogbrother's fan club. To sign up for the site, I was asked the name of John Green's son (in addition to the more traditional CAPTCHA), which is easy enough information to find, but is a clear indication that the target audience is quite familiar with the founders. I'd estimate that about 99% of the users are Green brothers fans. It is also worth noting that a large minority of people on the site seem to be slightly clueless high school students. They are diluted by a good number of people that are not clueless and/or not high school students.
“Hank... I need to make one thing clear: Nerdfighters are not about you and me. ... Nerdfighters are about raising money and awareness for important causes. Nerdfighters are about building a supportive community of friends... in my pants. Nerdfighters are about stupid beautiful projects and making each other laugh and think with t-shirts and pocket protectors and rants about the situation in Pakistan which sucks right now. In the contemporary world where things fall apart and the center can not hold you have to imagine a community where there is no center... A lot of life is about doing things that don’t suck with people who don’t suck.”
-- John Green, father of Henry Green.
Well, alright then. Having seen a few Vlogbrother's vlogs and spent all of 30 minutes exploring the site, I am fairly certain that I'm a Nerdfighter in name only. However, there is a lot of good content and a lot of people engaged in good projects, so it may be worth checking out. It's certainly entertaining, and pretty jokes, and a good place to avoid decepticons. YMMV. But even if it isn't your sort of fun, the Nerdfighters are good folks, and deserve to have their Awesome recognized.