Pull up a stoop and chat

I received a press release last Friday from Freewebs, a social networking site based in Washington DC. They sent the release on behalf of one...

I received a press release last Friday from Freewebs, a social networking site based in Washington DC. They sent the release on behalf of one of its sites, "Sit Here," which encourages people to hang out on their stoops (New York-ese for front porch) and talk to their neighbors. The site was a school project created by three Parsons students who came up with the idea after talking to an old man who lamented the lack of stoop conversation in Brooklyn since the good old days. Incredibly, the project has been mentioned in an AP story that was picked up by a ton of media outlets nationwide.

The release included a line that I find curious, saying the site "addresses the decreasing culture of social interaction in cities across the United States."

While the type of interaction has changed drastically, the level of communication is at a high right now, especially among the younger demographic, who seem to be the ones most responsive to the ‘Sit Here’ site and social networking in general. Comments on the site include personal anecdotes and links to other sites of interest. Here’s some advice on how to reach young people from Sarah Feldman, one of the “Sit Here” creators: “Don’t try to make something look cool. You know those [anti-]drug ads, they try to be cool, but in school, we laugh at them. They should be serious.”

In other words, don’t try so hard. In the few months that I’ve been with PRWeek, I’ve noticed that there’s such a focus on tapping into consumer lifestyles that some of the events and strategies become outlandish. Here are three people who used flyers to invite people to their site and to their front steps, and they get in the AP. Fluke? Maybe. But the whole thing is so natural and easy, it couldn’t help but to work.

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