Humans of New York, Humans of the World

This week in BCM210 we were told to ‘analyse a text,’ and yes, this allows us to spread our wings in the land of research topics hoping we grab hold of one that stands out from the crowd.

In attempt to tackle this week with a layer of creativity, I have selected the simple blog that became the introduction to a metropolis of individuals: Humans of New York.

The qualitative research experiment was started by the infamous Brandon Stanton, doubling as the photographer Stanton “…set out to photograph 10 000 New Yorkers” in attempt “… to create an exhaustive catalogue of New York City’s inhabitants” (Stanton, 2010).

The blog itself was then introduced to Facebook, where its popularity boomed, catching the attention of media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, NY1 and CBS New York. Through the explosion of publicity, Stanton’s social experiment became a documented research paper, with a layer of connection with the readers that has not before been achieved. This has been achieved by the simple fact that through the documentation, photographing and interviewing of general, everyday individuals readers lives are given the same spotlight as those they are reading about.

A simple example I will analyse is the one of the following woman:


(Image Source: Humans of New York)

Her interview read as follows:

“I don’t look like an electrical engineer, but I’m in charge of power continuity in Manhattan. Don’t get me wrong— I have a boss. But I’m the only black woman who is the shift manager of a control room. So when it’s my shift, I’m running shit. And I’m proud of that.”

The simple research that Stanton conducts provides the world with an inside-view with “the inhabitants of New York” allowing, in relation to the above example, Women in power to feel proud and enriched by their achievements despite the fact that they may be in positions generally upheld by a male.

Another example of the research is of the following boy:

Capture1 (Image source: Humans of New York)

When asked who has influenced him most in his life the young boy answered that it was his school Principal because:

“When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”

Through the simple answer of an interview question the boy opened up the world into his values and beliefs – to read that this child is being lead and influenced by a woman who values school and education allows for parents of the school to trust and feel comfortable with their childrens education.

The beauty of the social experiment is its vast nature – the blog and facebook includes thousands of individuals, with the end goal of sympathy and empathy for our fellow citizens of the world.

The blog has acted as the catalyst for a range of other ‘Humans of…’ blogs including ‘Humans of Wollongong’ and ‘Iran.’

Until next time,



Stanton, B 2010, Humans of New York, Humans of New York, weblog post, 2010, viewed 20 March 2015


One Comment Add yours

  1. Kae McKenzie says:

    I’m so glad you picked HONY to analyse. It’s a very layered text to look at and does a great job at centring the reader in what you have correctly identified as “humans of the world”. HONY would be a qualitative research text though. I wonder if anyone has compiled the data to show some overall message beyond the fact that, as New York has such a huge population, it’s a very good sample of “the world” and shows how diverse we are.

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