Hank Green on TikTok
by Katie Stachowicz
Ever wonder what doctors can learn from giraffes? Or how to fix a frozen windshield with science? Or why some people can taste saline IVs? Hank Green, co-creator of the YouTube channels Crash Course and Vlogbrothers, is using TikTok to answer all your weird science questions. His account, with nearly 8 million followers amassed since 2019, looks at everything “science”, from big (are we all doomed to die from climate change?) to small (how do dogs understand elevators?). The common thread is following genuine curiosity, using a laid-back, conversational tone that makes viewers feel like they are being talked to, rather than talked at.
Green’s science communication skills are already well-practiced thanks to his years on YouTube, but the TikTok platform creates a community where he can respond more directly to the questions people have for him. The “stitch” feature, where one person can respond to another’s video with their own, takes on new life in Green’s “Ask Hank” series. Quite simply, a follower (or any member of the TikTok community) asks a question in their own video posted to their channel and tags Green. He responds with an easy-to-follow answer, often citing the articles he read along the way. The series doesn’t have a particular theme other than “interesting stuff.” But it’s a great place to answer those questions you keep forgetting to ask, or even answer questions you never knew you had.
Recently, his account took on a new topic: cancers. Specifically, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which affects around 83,000 people globally every year. It’s a cancer that attacks your lymph nodes, which are part of your immune system, and Green has just been diagnosed with it. Instead of retreating from the public eye, he documented his journey through diagnosis and chemotherapy, making videos about how viral infections can turn healthy cells into cancer cells, what Hodgkin’s lymphoma was doing to his body, and how exactly chemo attacks cancer cells. His account became a haven for people looking to understand a little bit more about the United States’ second most deadly killer. He is now in remission and continues to post occasional videos about his experience and cancer biology.
Hank Green is on TikTok at @hankgreen1. He posts nearly every day.