Talking to strangers

Ever feel like these days people are too closed off in their own world (or phone) to notice not just what’s going on around them, but also who?  Ever read some pitiful Missed Connections post about someone who supposedly met the love of their dreams but either couldn’t muster the courage or just simply couldn’t think of anything to say to them?

While a pre-emptive resolution to Craigslist Missed Connections is probably not the original inspiration for the project, it’s nonetheless one of the many applications for this populist experiment dubbed “Public Prompts” - Meaningful Conversation for the Masses.  One of the creators of the project, George, recently gave us the low-down:

It consists of publicly-placed conversation starters that inspire fun interactions between strangers. We’re pasting em all over bus stops, BART and Muni, especially in the mission since thats our hood. In fact the templates are all on the site, so anyone can put up their own as well!

Ooh, sounds like fun!  I wonder how many Public Prompts we can come up with?

29 Responses to “Talking to strangers”

  1. Bob Dole says:

    This project is doomed to fail. Only because people in SF are naturally closed off to each other once they’re outside. Smart phones, smug attitude, indifference.

    • GG says:

      I’ve noticed it’s always the lonely people who make comments like this, and I could see how it might seem that way to them. Among those of us with lots of friends who struggle to make time to see them already, we like to keep our private time as just that — private time — and save our social time for the people who matter to us. I get my fill of social interaction every day by talking with the people I have chosen to spend time with, so I don’t have a lot of energy/desire left over to make idle chit-chat with random strangers.

  2. Teotwawki Jones says:

    This project is doomed to fail because it is pretentious and obnoxious. Like the paid hucksters on Castro who push a different cause every day and pretend to be friendly. Can I put these stickers over their mouths?

  3. gigit says:

    I find people in S.F. to be super nice, generally speaking. Also, to further be Miss Suzy sunshine, I think these stickers are pretty cute.

  4. SFkix says:

    Game on. For the experiment killers above keep your earphones on and keep smelling your own farts, let the rest have fun. Cheers.

  5. Michael scott says:

    Forced conversations are for corporate icebreakers, not everyday life. What If I don’t want to talk to strangers?

  6. TJ says:

    For the Castro:


    Could you please put your pants back on?

  7. moto-waki says:

    oooh! it doesn’t sound like fun!

  8. Millenials says:

    Take this shit back to the suburbs. The underlying white whine that people should talk to each other and smilie is some never actually existed fantasy 50s small town bullshit.

    The people who came up with this idea are between the ages of 21-26 (I hope they’re not older), and grew up in the suburbs. In the midwest. And they are vandalizing public space to boot.

    Fuck them.

  9. Olu says:

    I agree with Michael Scott above, those questions are little corporate retreat.

    But I guess someone asking me what the soundtrack of my life would be when I’m just trying to get home or whatever isnt’ the worst thing in the world. It just feels like it at time.

    I bet this would go over well on those corporate shuttles.

  10. Jim says:

    To answer the question on the card, Portugal. The Man would

  11. chalkman says:

    Mogwai provides the soundtrack to my life….but they don’t really sing…

  12. The Tens says:

    Alright, which one of you motherfuckers shit yourself?

  13. Lillian says:

    As much as I love this idea, I can’t help but remember this time when I tried to start a conversation with this woman while waiting for the bus. I asked her how her night was going and she started to get hostile, yelling with her eyes all bulged out, “The fuck did you just say to me? THE. FUCK. DID. YOU. JUST. SAY TO ME!?” The claps of her hand with every word made it all the more frightening.

    That was the last time I was ever friendly to a stranger. After that moment, I started living a life of making rude and snarky comments on popular local blogs. I lost all hope in humanity that day. I pray that this campaign doesn’t put others through the same pain I went through. God bless you all.

    • Original Sweet T says:

      How unoriginal.

      I bet we would make great friends!

    • I don't want to post says:

      I don’t even need to read your link to pass on it. You are link says it all in the URL: SocialMarketing / Facebook / campaign to sell friendships for money.

      • Sweet T says:

        Oh, harumph! No, thank you! I’ll pass. MY time is ever more so valuable than your attempts at the commodification of friendship via this nefarious “social marketing campaign.” Quite more valuable, indeed. Good day, sir!