I spend more time than I’d like to admit looking at embarrassingly awful things online (21 Cats Who Haven’t Heard about Gravity, anyone?). But one page I feel no guilt revisiting time and again is the brilliant Humans of New York.
The blog sees photographer, Brandon Stanton, walk the streets of NYC – and beyond – photographing the people he meets and collecting their stories. Teachers, grandparents, children, artists, road sweepers and veterans share their anecdotes, their tragedies and their triumphs. It’s sad, funny and thought provoking.
I‘m not the only one who thinks so – what started as a small project has become huge, amassing millions of followers. It’s forged a partnership with the UN, sharing people’s stories in countries like Iraq and Kenya to raise awareness about the Millennium Development Goals. And thanks to its followers, it’s raised thousands of pounds for various charities, showing how social media can inspire social good.
As fundraisers, the popularity of this blog is exciting. This is, after all, our territory – telling stories that move people. And the blog’s readers genuinely seem to care – so much so that the comments section has none of the negativity or trolling you might see elsewhere.
Instead, what it does is connect people. People share their own stories or give the people featured a cheer on.
The blog shows that simple ideas can turn into something wonderful – and most importantly, that great stories and photos are key if we want people to care. We might need to dig deep to find them but it’s worth it – as one look at HONY’s 10.7million followers and $433,697 raised will tell you.