Written by Stephanie Rodriguez. Media by Riley Hannula.
Humans of GC posted their first social media story in 2015 to collect stories and photos of people around campus. The group of journalists consists of Senior Digital Media majors Morgan Johnson, Madison Moran and Katie Wallace.
Humans of GC started because the group wanted to do something like Humans of New York. Moran states, “Research was involved in it. We looked up how Brandon Stanton from Humans of New York asks questions. There’s definitely a specific way to approach people and you have to be confident.”
This page is important to Wallace because “it shows a different side of people’s lives that others don’t see.” Johnson confirms, “It’s definitely opened up my eyes to other people’s stories. I think that a lot of the times I get stuck in my own little bubble that I don’t really take the time to think about the person who opened the door for me to Jo’s Java. It has helped me get out of my comfort zone.”
The group sets aside one hour, three days out of the week, to ask people about their stories. They post as often as possible, but it varies depending on schedules. Moran informed, “One person will take the picture and someone else will be there to help the conversation go, so we can get the answers to the questions.”
The group notes the differences between Humans of New York and Humans of GC. Moran comments, “There are not as many people we can take pictures of. We even talked about limiting the number of pictures we take a week because we were worried we would run out of people.” Wallace adds, “It’s a smaller demographic and they know their friends are going to see them as opposed to the millions of people in New York.”
The group gives insight into how they ask questions: “We start the majority of the time with the question ‘What’s your biggest struggle right now?’ Sometimes people answer it genuinely and other times people don’t want to open up, but we work off of that.”
The group is confident in approaching interviewees to make them comfortable, but they inevitably come across people who do not want to be interviewed. Johnson states, “Once you’ve gotten your first three no’s then you’re fine.” There are some people who don’t want to have their picture taken, so the group moves on to the next person. When asked if anyone they have interviewed has changed their perspective, Moran answered, “Each story is unique in its own way. Sometimes it’s nice to hear certain perspectives that I might have thought about myself, but didn’t know were shared by other people. Hearing others confirm or share a similar opinion can be reassuring.”
Johnson, Moran and Wallace didn’t expect so many people like the Facebook page. During the first few days, the group received feedback and it encouraged them. Johnson comments, “I wasn’t even expecting to walk around with a camera and people reacting to that. One time we were trying to find people for a post and some kid was like ‘Hey, take my picture!’ and then we took his picture. I don’t even think that kid knows he’s on that page. I wasn’t expecting people to be excited about getting their picture taken.”
As seniors, they will be passing down the page to a group who can keep the integrity and dignity of the page. The group hopes that people will begin to open up and share more personal stories or struggles to encourage others. Wallace states, “If you do this you’re not alone. Please feel free to open up with us about anything you want; if you have anything in your heart that you want to lay out, then we are 100 percent open to listening.”
As the semester continues, you’ll notice Johnson, Moran and Wallace walking around campus; if you have any questions, or would like to share your story, don’t be afraid to talk to them. Be sure to check out the Humans of GC Facebook page.