Hey there…let’s talk.
I’ve spent the last seven years having lots of people know who I am and say nice things about me and watch me every week on YouTube. I’ve played Carnegie Hall and started my own convention and LOTS of people have watched my videos. LOTS…just a VERY LOT!
But I’ve never felt famous…but then…how would I know if I felt famous? I don’t know what it feels like to be famous…is it pleasant? Is it terrifying? Is it a feeling of success or power? I don’t think you know unless you know…y’know?
But in the last couple of weeks I’ve felt a little bit famous, and I kinda hate it. Here’s what I think it is:
People appreciating me for my existence, not for my creations. Just the mere fact of me is enough to make people want to get my picture. Really it’s when people who haven’t watched a bunch of Vlogbrothers videos want to get a picture just because they know I’m the kind of person you should get a picture with…that’s what makes me feel “famous” and it’s not a feeling I particularly like.
There’s also a bit of a conversion to my self as public property. Like, if you’re known by enough people, you eventually become (in a weird way) publicly owned. People are free to talk about you in the tabloids. What I might consider private time, like walking my dog or eating dinner or being in a public bathroom stops being private because it’s public and I’m public. I don’t begrudge people for coming up to me while I’m doing those things (well, if I’m having a fancy dinner with my wife and you come up for a photo…I begrudge that a little) but mostly it’s just wonderful to be appreciated.
Let’s get this out of the way as well…
I LOVE being appreciated for things I’m proud of. I make a thing…I like it…other people like it…they tell me they like it. That’s like, THE. FUCKING. BEST. THING.
But here’s what I think happens. I think you start getting famous and you stop sharing what your life is like out of fear that people won’t understand. They’ll think you ungrateful for the success and importance that they have literally granted to you. You deal with the most first world of all first world problems (i.e. not how to pay for traveling the world, but how to avoid traveling the world /too much/.)
Let’s be honest, I don’t have to worry about money anymore…on the other hand I do have to worry about making sure I can pay the 22 people who work for me so that they can continue feeding their families and stuff. That’s not a problem that I feel like a lot of people can identify with. It’s a thing that stresses me out but maybe seems like “Well, whatever douche-pants, when was the last time you had to worry about putting food on the table.” And, yeah, that internal voice is /totally right./
But then do I look for other business-running people and only talk to them? Do I narrow my audience to just a few select people who do have direct experience?
Does there come a time where I can no longer be honest about my life? When I become extremely difficult to relate to because all of my problems are CEO problems and not real-person problems? And, when that happens, does the prophecy come true…do I just become a famous person? Appreciated not for what he does but just because he is?
Do I just get used to keeping secrets? So used to it that maybe I make easy decisions that aren’t in concert with the values of Nerdfighteria instead of the hard decisions that are? Do I just become complicit in the secrecy of American corporate culture? Do I just become part of that culture?! UHGHGHGHGHGGGHHHHHH
I want to avoid that SO FUCKING BAD! That’s why I’m writing this.
I have four separate businesses, and when an employee from one needs to do work for another we set up a contract between the two different companies so one company can pay the other company for that person’s time. If we didn’t do that the government would yell at us for having an employee that doesn’t work for a company doing work for that company. That’s some of the weird shit I have to deal with that, like, no one fucking cares about. And I don’t expect you to care about it! It’s esoteric and boring and morally uncomplicated!
But maybe I do just have to tell you “Hey, check out this stupid shit I have to deal with…how dumb is that, right?” because otherwise, I’ll stop sharing things because I don’t feel like you’ll care or you’ll think I’m uncool because it’s so corporate and bullshitty and full of the ultimate in first world problems. But if I stop sharing…if I stop being open about my life, I am afraid I’ll stop being a person. And that terrifies me…so please
Don’t let me stop being a person.
It’s mostly up to me, of course. And lots of people aren’t going to be reached by this kind of communication. But what’s important is that Nerdfighters don’t stop seeing me as a person. I don’t care if I’m famous…I care if I lose that connection to this community because, without it, I will feel like less of a human being. I will have lost something that is extremely important to me. Thank you all for allowing that connection in the first place.
I’m gonna go eat some cake now.
Hank, I think you’re one of the few content creators who may escape the curse of being “famous.” I say that because of your commitment to be present and involved in this little community of ours. You’ve always taken great pains to give something of yourself and also treat your viewers with respect. Like when I posted on your most recent vlogbrothers video with a tiny suggestion that wasn’t even particularly well thought given that I was posting from my phone. However, you read it, considered it, and offered a wonderful response to it. I think it’s the fact that you take the time to invest in us while in turn we invest in the community will help prevent what you fear in your post. We have this weird invisible non verbal contract. Where you and John continue to consider us viewers individually and complexly, and in turn, we do the same for you. We may not have the same lives, however, we’re still human, and hopefully we can still connect over yours and our humanness. Our love for science, literature, philosophy, and all things nerd is what binds our fascinating wonderful community, and that cannot be replicated; even if other companies seek a means of doing so. Nerdfighteria has grown organically, and it has exceeded so many expectations regarding its ability to connect emphatically and decrease world suck.
Thank you Hank (and John), for helping foster this community. Thank you for your commitment to remain grounded and retain your humanity in the midst of this crazy season surrounding TFIOS.
The intensity of his stare is a little disconcerting. *YES* you MUST help defeat capitalism in advertising and you MUST do it NOOAWWW
argh, is anyone familiar with anaheim, vidcon, travel etc?? I’m trying to figure out travel arrangements. are there any vidcon groups where people may want to share a hotel room?? Where do I find this out? :( So sad atm. Being Canadian, I’m so unfamiliar with California :(
"Hank is the Executive Producer and Co-Creator of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
He also serves as Editor and Post Supervisor.
Hank is one of the most active and prolific leaders of a new generation of Web entrepreneurs and personalities. With more than a half-million subscribers, Green is the younger half of the Vlogbrothers, Executive Producer of SciShow and Crash Course, Chief Trivia Officer of TruthorFail, Founder and CEO ofVidCon, Inventor of 2D glasses, Publisher of Ecogeek.org, Vice President of the Foundation to Decrease World Suck, Owner of the DFTBA Record label and a Billboard top ten musician.”
I swear there’s nothing this man can’t do.
I’d personally add, “Hank is also an awesome husband to the Katherine, and owner of such lovely pets like the derpy Lemon and the amazing Cameo.”
Obviously that’s his most important position.
I wonder if Hank Green ever thought back in B 2.0 that Obama would reblog his videos. I wish that B2.0 Hank could comment XD
Just something I recorded about the Laci Green controversy and why John and I are sympathetic to her.
why didn’t I listen to the physical copy sooner?????????????????? I’ve just been listening to the emailed copy I got when I purchased it.
This made my day ^_^
But now I can’t access the extra video he mentioned :( Mayhaps safari hates the link. OH WELL
and I asked for tickets to vidcon/travel for my grad present.
I hope you all appreciate how amazing this is.
I can’t believe I grad
and I can’t believe I’m planning a year in advance.
It better be in fa-reaking anaheim cus I want to go to Disney again.
Hank Green, if you see this, please take this lowly Canadian’s pleas into account for when you plan VidCon2013 ^_^