A few weeks ago while on my way to visit my sister and her family in Chicago I came across the Humans of New York account while browsing on Instagram. Up to this point, I really only used Instagram to look at adorable pictures of my nieces and nephews and although The Humans of New York (HONY) account will never rank as high as my family’s photos, I have still become obsessed with this account.

To be fair, Humans of New York is not just an Instagram account. It is a blog, a Facebook account, a Twitter account, on Tumblr, and there is a book! A man named Brandon created HONY in 2010 with the goal of photographing 10,000 New Yorkers, but as the quest progressed he started collecting quotes and stories from the people he photographed. Each blurb tells something unique about the individual.

I find myself checking my Instagram account several times a day waiting for the newest post. Even though New York isn’t my favorite city, the stories of these particular New Yorkers are just so intriguing. Many clichés could be said about the people in these photos – never judge a book by its cover, don’t judge a man until you have waked a mile in his shoes, etc. – but I keep going back for more. Hearing these people’s stories, struggles, and triumph makes them so human. So many emotions happen when I read these posts – sometimes I want to cry, laugh, smile, identify with them, or reach out to them. While the account demonstrates how unique each individual is, at the same time it somehow unites everyone.

I can’t help but think how this concept could be applied to many sports and entertainment properties. What if there were “Humans of Notre Dame”, “Humans of the Red Sox”, or “Humans of the Philadelphia Eagles”? Numerous teams have profiled fans on their ticket stubs, but I think it was be interesting to profile fans on their social media account such as Facebook and Instagram including stories and quotes. Hearing about the person’s life in regards to the fandom for that particular team would be so fascinating. I could see quotes about:

  • First memory as a fan
  • Why s/he became a fan
  • Craziest thing they’ve done for their team
  • Tattoos of the team
  • Family history
  • First game attended
  • Favorite team branded merchandise
  • History of season tickets within their family
  • Superstitions

The list could go on and on, but ultimately I think everyone’s unique stories would connect the fan base to each other and help humanize the team. Hearing stories about other fans can only bring them closer and make them want to share their story. To my knowledge, there isn’t a team or entertainment property that has ran this sort of social media campaign (if there is, please let me know!), but I would love to see this happen. As with any social media posts, there will be the Negative Nancy’s, but I’d hope all fans would be respectful of others’ connection to their team. If you have some time, check out HONY and see how sports and entertainment properties can incorporate this concept into social media campaigns.