Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Web Secret #281: Humans of New York

How do you create an epic, life-changing, influential blog? One that is avidly followed by well over one million people.

I wish there was a formula that I could share with you. This much I know:

It would have to be passionate.

It would have to be unique.

It would have to be moving.

It would have to be like Humans of New York (HONY.)

HONY, like many of the blogs I have featured on iWebU, features a deceptively simple idea. Brandon Stanton, a 29-year old self-taught photographer, arrived in New York City in August 2010 with the aim of photographing 10,000 New Yorkers and plotting their portraits on a map of the city. Below each photograph, he posted a snippet of the dialogue he had with each of us subjects.

That's it, that's the whole idea.

Wait, I'll let him explain it:

Here are three examples of a HONY post:

A beautiful old woman recites a poem.

A doorman explains why he admired his father.

A girl asks Stanton to photograph a man named Mark.

It's hard to analyze why HONY works so well. I think it's about the quality of each photograph. The humanity inherent in each subject. The thoughtfulness of each caption.

Stanton is now famous, and the blog has been featured on TV, the Wall Street Journal and will soon become a published book.

There are eight million stories in the naked city; this has been one of them.

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