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Duration:04:00
Uploaded:2015-03-20
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In which Hank talks about the weirdness of individuality in the internet age where the crowd is distributed and often alone...acting individually and making individual decisions, but being understood as some massive, unthinking herd. And how he thinks that the lack of proper conception of how crowds actually function could be cured by more nerds going to concerts.

It's ne thing to sacrifice your individuality, which is what I think we all do to some extent when we become part of something. It's quite another thing to have it taken from you because it makes the internet easier to understand.

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Crowds: Good morning John; it's Friday!   Hank: That, my brother, was a good morning from a few of the shows that Hank Green and the Perfect Strangers played together at our last tour on the West Coast. I had them intro today's video because: one, we're going on tour again on the East Coast and two, because today I want to talk about crowds.   Every social animal, it seems, gets a collective noun. A school of fish, a gaggle of geese, a pod of whales, a herd of cows. And there are lots of lesser know and super awesome ones, like a business of ferrets or a murder of crows or a crash of rhinoceros. Also a romp of otters; that's really a thing.   But humans, since we mostly talk about ourselves, have given ourselves a bunch of different collective nouns, depending on how large the group is, and what the group is doing. If we're working together, it's a crew; if we're praying together, it's a congregation; if you're fighting together, it's an army; if you're mad and angry together, that's a mob. But the most general term for a group of humans, I think, is a crowd.   Now since the communication revolution of the internet, our society has become a little bit obsessed with a new kind of crowd, I think. It's a crowd not tied together by being in the same place but by common values or goals or interests.   The internet has enabled crowd funding like Patreon and Indiegogo and Kickstarter, and crowd-sourcing, which has built the marvel that is Wikipedia. And then you got the wisdom of the crowd, and the crowd is up voting things on Reddit and deciding whether or not they want to watch YouTube videos or share things on Facebook, and that's helping all of those different organizations figure out how to curate content more efficiently and effectively.    We can now, for the first time in human history, literally say that we are alone in a crowd. And I think that we are forgetting that this crowd is made up of individual people, and I'm a little bit uncomfortable with that.    But before I talk about why that is, I want to say thank you to all of our Patreon patrons who have helped to fund SciShow and Crash Course, very effectively so far. We're almost two-thirds of the way to our pre-Patreon switch funding levels, so thank you so much for doing that.    Now when we see that CrashCourse is raising over $18,000 a month to fund educational, free video on the internet, we have a hard time, in our brains, thinking of that as being done by individual people so we attribute it to "the crowd."    But it's not the crowd; it's not the culture -- it's individuals. It's a few people, really less than a percentage of the total viewership of those shows, who have that magical combination of ability and enthusiasm that makes them interested in giving us money even though they don't have to.    The way that I understand "the crowd" and of course, many people would call, like, the audience of this, the 200,000-some people who are going to watch this video "the crowd."    The way that I understand it is heavily influenced by actually going to places and seeing real people, which is why I keep playing concerts. Up on a stage, you get a different, and much more literal view of what a crowd is. It's a bunch of people, who have all individually come together because they share a common interest. From the stage I can see the crowd, both as that marvellous human herd, all jumping in unison and also as a bunch of individual people, making individual decisions.    But when I'm in the audience, I feel it very differently. Whether I'm in the audience that's participating in a crowd funding campaign or I'm watching music and I'm the one jumping up and down in unison, knowing that my individual actions are valuable, but they're only really meaningful in combination with a dozen, or a hundred, or a thousand, or a million other people.    I love being my individual self. But there's also something really wonderful about sacrificing that individuality for a moment of giving or for a few hours of enjoyment at a concert.    I went to a lot of shows growing up -- a lot of shows at grimy little venues, with a bunch of people that I didn't know and that I would never know, and those shows were scary. I found them scary pretty much every single time I went to a show.    But what I learned there wasn't that the crowd was wise or powerful or effective, which is what we talk about now. I think the thing I learned was actually much more important than that. I learned that crowds are kind. Or at least they can be in the right situations.    And I learned that if I let the barrier of my individuality drop, I wasn't afraid of what I saw. For a careful moment, I could stop being me, and I could just be the crowd, and I would gain a lot more than I would lose.   John I'll see you on Friday, and nerdfighters in these areas, I'll see you in April, I hope.   [music] Can you even imagine way back in the past when we thought that storms were caused by petty gods