By LAURA SANCHEZ, Opinions Editor
Humans of New York is one of the most popular photoblogs on the Internet right now, and if you haven’t been keeping up with them, like I have, I strongly suggest picking up your phone and going to like this blog on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or on your favorite social media website of choice.
For a bit of background into Humans of New York, this project was started by Brandon Stanton in 2010, and has now escalated to obtain more than nine million likes on Facebook alone.
Stanton walks the streets of New York and randomly stops people passing by, interrupting their daily wanderings and asks them questions about their life, their aspirations and dreams, their failures and misgivings, and obtains answers ranging from philosophical insights to witty, sarcastic comments.
There’s no real way to actually describe what Stanton does other than actually encouraging people to visit his specific page. That’s where you can see the vivid, beautiful photographs of such ‘humans of New York’, and the captions and stories that bring these humans to life, escalating them into actual living and breathing people who struggle and persevere and live, just like the rest of us. Everyone is so similar and different at the same time.
Stanton is currently on a world tour with the UN, traveling across ten different countries, in order to bring awareness about the Millennium Development Goals, blueprints all of the world’s countries have agreed to in order to target sectors, including poverty, education, and gender equality.
The beauty of Stanton’s global project is that anyone can be a ‘human of New York’. One can be in the Republic of Congo or India or Vietnam or Mexico, and be reassured that every single human on the planet has a story or a one-liner that can cause immediate angst or laughter, despite all of the different circumstances that surround their environments and daily lives.
The amount of awareness that Stanton’s travels have created is tremendous; it shows his entire audience the truth about the world. It dispels stereotypes and myths, and increases consciousness about the important problems that rock the world, such as poverty, lack of education, violence, corruption, sickness, etc. that traditional media forms don’t necessarily share with their audiences.
This photoblog has also inspired thousands of other projects across the world, with similar titles and intents.
There’s another photoblog that I also follow on Facebook titled, ‘Humans of Detroit’, and the people running the account often post pictures of passerby in the area, who give insight into what it really means to be a resident of Metro Detroit. It ranges from posts from an art teacher in Dearborn, to a just-married couple living it up in Dally in the Ally, medical students at Wayne State, and participants in the Detroit African World Festival. It gives a little peek into the general lives of Detroiters, who all share common messages of love, vitality, and struggle.
While a couple of my Facebook friends follow Humans of Detroit and exactly forty-three of them follow of the Humans of New York, I still remember the days when I was the only one who knew about the blog in my friend circle. While I’m sometimes sad that it’s not my best-kept secret anymore, I can’t complain at all. Now it’s grown into a bigger-than-life phenomena that shows so much, and I couldn’t be happier at the effects.
Reading the comments sections in other websites is one of the most terrible things one can do, since they’re full of misogynistic, ignorant, xenophobic comments. However, reading the comments section on this blog is extremely uplifting. You have people commiserating with each other, sending love to the sad and distressed, or cheering along with the accomplished.
I love how this project isn’t just about New York. It’s about people, about individuals, and about you and me.