Each morning I wake up to perform my first task of the day – check social media vigorously. In the 8-9 hours that I sleep, there is so much that I miss on all different platforms. I’ve found that when I go to check Instagram, I no longer scroll through my feed to be updated on photos – I go straight to the Humans of New York Instagram page. I’m immediately overcome with a sense of calmness and inspiration to begin my day.
I wasn’t introduced to Humans of New York (HONY) until a friend text me one day a photo of her reading the Humans of New York book by Brandon Stanton while she was procrastinating university assessment. The book contains photographs of strangers by Brandon and a snippet of a personal story of theirs. My curiosity peeked, and at the time I too was pretending to study, but HONY had me easily distracted. In today’s world, it can be so easy to get swept up in the realms of social media to see what a Kardashian is posting, or discovering a new Snapchat filter or having a seat in the front row of a celebrity Twitter feud. However, I didn’t feel so guilty for procrastinating following my discovery of thousands of Humans of New York stories.
HONY was a simple photography concept turned internet phenomenon that began on Tumblr, launched two book releases, inspired an Instagram sensation and has now amassed over 17 million likes on Facebook today. From a goal to reach 10,000 photographs of strangers in New York to receiving quotes of Brandon’s New York subjects, HONY now includes interviews of people from all over the globe and has captured and inspired the hearts of the social media world. Some stories are quirky, some short and others contain strong meaning. Needless to say, they’re all inspiring in their own unique way.
The power of Humans of New York has not only received a dedicated following, but has inspired an everyday conversation between users on social media. Each post is followed by a giant thread of mostly positive comments that demonstrate that readers all have something in common – a vision to create positive change and a personal connection that simply shows that compassion, understanding and acceptance for differences is not all lost in our complex world.
I’ve come to the realisation that due to Brandon’s vision, his ability to set himself apart on social media and amass a global audience with such a unique concept, if any similar ideas were to come up for air, it’s essential to:
- Stay true to you and be versatile
- Find a genuine connection on your platform with what you’re posting without the intention to go viral. If you do go viral, then you’re doing something right.
- Support a movement and be part of making a positive difference.
I often wonder what the next sensation will be that will cause an epic response and even distract me from more responsibilities. Or will there ever be a similar idea that garners the same global attention, heartfelt responses and personal connections? What do you think?
[Images by Madison Agius]