Why Humans Of New York Is The Best Thing On The Internet

Why Humans Of New York Is The Best Thing On The Internet

Brandon Stanton captures the true nature of being human.

People are always saying things like, "Don't judge people because you don't know what they've been through." We are so absorbed in our busy lives, technology and self-centered media universes that we tend to simply ignore people that we don't know. While I do not think that the Internet will initiate the downfall of the human race, we could all stand to take a few minutes out of our day to gain a new perspective on life. Brandon Stanton, creator of the inspirational Humans of New York movement, gave us a platform on which we can gain insight about the joys and struggles faced by people every day as well as proof that there is always hope for a better tomorrow.

Starting in the city of New York, Stanton began using his camera to capture what seemed like simple pictures of people -- sometimes faces, sometimes their hands or sometimes them holding a phone showing an important personal photo. With each photo he posts online, Stanton writes a snapshot of the conversation he had with the person or people. By doing this, he has captured the raw emotional stories of thousands who have won the hearts of millions.

As Stanton's blog gained popularity and followers, he traveled to several impoverished and conflict-ridden countries, capturing the emotions and struggles of those he met along the way. What separates Stanton's work from prominent activist work is that he frames issues in a way that resonates with readers rather than just telling us why we should care. He appeals to people's natural inclination to make a difference.

One of his more recent series was on children suffering from cancer. This one stood apart to me from other news on this subject because it focused not only on the children, but also their parents and the medical staff. It touches on the pain doctors and nurses feel when they are not able to save a child's life and the guilt that ensues. There are several pieces in which the subjects talk about the constant fear they experience, the masks people wear to hide their pain and the long hours spent searching for a cure after having experienced so many dead ends. Stanton also shares the innate goodness of people by sharing doctors' late-night stories of fighting to save lives. He points out the nurses that spend their days striving to make these kids even just a little bit happier. This series proved to me that I should be thankful for and take advantage of every opportunity I have because there are so many who dream of having what I sometimes find myself taking for granted.

By spotlighting so many honest perspectives, Stanton keeps onlookers enthralled by showing that we, as human beings, can understand and empathize with each other on the most basic levels. Some stories are deep and tug on our emotions, while others are humorous and relatable, but they all have one thing in common: They prove that everyone's perspective is unique and vital in the whirlwind that is this world.

I owe Brandon Stanton a thank you for reminding me to appreciate who I am and to never give up on who I aspire to become.

Cover Image Credit: Laughing Squid

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Who IS Allowed To Talk About Gun Control?

I have more questions than there are answers but I hope that we are on the way to a country with far less gun violence.

Who is allowed to talk about gun control?

I see a lot of stuff on social media saying that teenagers don’t know enough to talk about gun control. Why? If a teenager dies of cancer, their friends talk about cancer. If a teenager dies because they were hit by a drunk driver on Prom night, the high school scares their students into not drinking and driving. Guess what, 17 teenagers were killed last week. Why are their friends not allowed to have an opinion on that? They have been going to funerals every day since Friday. I can’t imagine having to go to the funeral of the guy I sat next in math class. People my age aren’t supposed to die, we are supposed to graduate and get our dream job. A high school student should be thinking about homework and what movie they're seeing this weekend, not if that noise in the hallway was a man with a gun.

In media, we project images of strong teenagers. The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, they are all books and movies depicting kids in situations they don’t like. The main characters fight the system causing an uproar from the adults. But, in the end the teenagers are victorious, their prize is happiness and spending their adult lives in peace. Why would adults feed their children these novels and not expect the message to be taken to heart.

Ou president is a 71 year old white man, there were approximately 14 incidents where shots were fired in a school. That is about as many as there have been in 2018. I have no idea what changed, what has made this number dramatically increase. But obviously something needs to change. Why does President Trump feel threatened by the idea of making the ability to purchase a gun less accessible?

Personally, I don’t think that we need to make all guns illegal. There are many people, several of which I’m related to, who legally own guns that have only ever been used to shoot animals during their designated hunting seasons. But, last week I watched in horror as the news story of a guy that I graduated with was shot and killed. He had recently bought a pump action shotgun and was showing friends when it accidentally went off and shot him in the chest.In our society, guns are not going to disappear, but they are far too prevalent and easily accessible to those who clearly do not need to be in possession them.

The students of Douglas High School do not want to do away with guns. They want to make sure that no one ever has to worry about their friends, children, siblings or any one else while they are trying to get an education. I have more questions than there are answers but I hope that we are on the way to a country with far less gun violence.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I Hate To Say It, But Social Media Is Ruining Us

Why post everything on Facebook?

I'm guilty of it myself. I post photos on my social media accounts of a fun vacation I went on, or of my friends and I looking good and having a fun time. I strive for that perfect candid that was so unplanned but was still so cute. Events that I am proud of I share with my friends. I write articles just as I am writing this one, to share my ideas on the media.

But why do we have a tendency to share all this online?

There is nothing wrong with posting pictures that you want to expose to others. However, when it becomes a comparison, it becomes a problem. Often times, social media portrays people's lives onscreen different from their reality. Instagram can make it seem that someone is living their best life when in reality there is a failure to show the pure, raw and difficult insight or emotion your follower is actually experiencing. It can be a fake, false distortion that has the ability to put others down and reconsider their own lives. It essentially this "Barbie doll" misconception. Unfortunately, no one's life is as easy and perfect as we think it is.

Another issue faced by social media is Facebook's "What's on your mind?" question bar. I feel like this question is almost rhetorical, as if we all answered this question honestly with details, is it really what is appropriate for all audiences? Telling information face to face in our inner circle is one thing, but there is certainly a distinction between Facebook friends and true friends. People don't always have everyone's best interest at heart. Most of us are not close with half of these friends we have added. So why do we need to share our every movement of every day with them?

Sharing pictures of your own, your child's or a loved one's graduation or milestone is completely justifiable and in fact, encouraged. But when media is used to brag or showcase something that you would not normally discuss in real life, it may be time to reconsider.

We are told numerous times by our elders that we are overly absorbed in what is in our hands. We are not making as many everyday connections outside the realm of the device in our fingertips. I never thought that I would agree as much, and I hate to say that it is something I've become more and more aware of is true.

To conquer this general trend and harmful trend found in modern times, enjoy the moment and be present. Who knows if you'll have the same opportunity to be in the same place with the same people twice.

Stop recording the concert, and enjoy the fact that you're seeing one of your favorite artists live. Enjoy your beach day without making the entire day that is supposed to be about relaxation, about taking a good pic.

Social media is a blessing that we are all grateful for, but let's not let its curse get the best of us. Since when was this supposed to be a stressful thing?

So go on a cleanse. Put the device down, and go see the world for yourself, not for anyone else.

Cover Image Credit: pexels.com

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