Can you create a connection with a stranger in one minute? Last night, participants engaged in what’s being called “the world’s largest eye-contact experiment.”
The 1-Minute Eye Contact Experimentis a global movement to reject social media and create actual social connections with the people around us. The idea is simple: Put down your phone and actually look into a stranger’s eyes for one minute. You might laugh, you might cry —you might even fall in love.
In NYC, nearly 2,000 people signed up to take part in the experiment, which went from Houston Street to 50th Street along Broadway from 5-8 p.m.
Local organizer Amy Silverman, founder ofThe Connection Movement, which hosts various socials every month,knew that going against the social norm of avoiding eye contact was a big ask.
“There’s this thing in our society, especially in New York, of not making eye contact,” said Silverman.“We sit on the subway and we keep each other as strangers."
Instead of expecting offense or hostility, something very different happened when strangers made eye contact.
“The 1-Minute Eye Contact Experiment will be a like a ‘connection injection’ — where people get a chance to pause for a moment and feel both their own humanity and what it’s like to really be with another person,” Silverman said.
NYC was just one of 143 cities worldwide (26 in the U.S) hosting the experiment, which was created byThe Liberators International. Nearly 2,000 people RSVP’ed for NYC’s event to meet a fellow New Yorker not for a New York minute, but a real one.
Check out the hashtag #share1minute to see other eye contact experiment reactions.