I first heard about the Green Brothers from my friend (now a consultant for GN) Imu. For my birthday last year, he gave me John Green’s book, The Fault in Our Stars—he suggested I read it and fall in love with it as he had. He was certain it was the book that would make me believe in everything all over again.
He was right. (He’s kind of always right.) I read it. I fell in love. And mostly I fell in love with John Green and the way he wrote this female character. It reminded me of the great books I’ve read where the authors adore their female leads: Salinger does it so many times in Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey, and Muriel Barbery does it in Elegance of the Hedgehog, and Nicole Krauss does it painfully well in The History of Love. John Green weaves a master of a tale. (And so many others agree… the book was listed three times on 2014’s Top 10 Bestsellers List at Publishers Weekly—for top trade paperback, movie-tie in version and hardcover—and also topped digital sales.)
But what I learned about John Green after becoming so entranced with his writing was that he and his brother, Hank Green, are known to scores of their followers as the VlogBrothers. They create video blogs and use them to communicate with each other and their audience of more than 2.65 million misfits through these vlogs with the aim of “raising nerdy to the power of awesome.” For a year, they only communicated through their vlogs as a sort of experiment. And they founded the annual VidCon conference, for people who love online video.
What I love about them is actually a big part of what inspired us to create Grok Nation: the dialogue that the Green Brothers engage in with their vlogs is down-to-earth, and it’s easy to understand, even when the videos are about topics that are not easy to understand. They have found a way to communicate complicated things in non-complicated ways. Their vlogs can be understood by young kids and teenagers and adults alike. No one is talked down to, and everything is presented as if we all have a right to this information. Because we do.
I follow the Green Brothers on Twitter (@hankgreen, @johngreen) and they are among the first people that our @groknation account followed, too—I find them approachable, humble and unapologetically nerdy. I love it. They are the kind of people who have taken the internet and used it for the best possible vehicle: to educate people in a way they may have not had the ability to be educated before. They talk about deep things, funny things and important things. They talk candidly, humbly and honestly.
We need more people like the Green Brothers. Maybe we can get them to help us grok an issue or challenge. (We already have some ideas.) Or maybe they will want our Grok Nation perspective on something. It’s something to aspire to!
I don’t know if they will officially count me as part of their cadre, but I hope that here at Grok Nation, we can achieve even a fraction of what they achieve daily. I would consider that to be a great accomplishment.