Starting a conversation with a stranger can be intimidating. Layer on a “prom” setting and I, for one, start running the other way.
Last month, I went to Yes by Yes Yes down in Palm Springs. A free-form gathering of creatives (an “unconference”), YxYY’s one official event was a prom. As others clamored to “say yes” to a variety of things (from making friendship bracelets to debating the anti-singularity), I decided to say yes to saying hi.
I grabbed a ream of paper from the front desk and carried it around with me for a day, writing down every good question I could think of that could help initiate good conversation. In the end, I had over 130 of them.
I set out two bowls at prom: one filled with the questions, one as a repository for the answers. Participants were to take a conversation starter, use it to begin a conversation with someone, and document the response they got.
I’ve taken fifty of the questions and answers (so far — happy to add more if the conversation continues) and laid them out here: http://pepperlandlabs.com/yxyy/
Most folks were pretty good about it, and many of the responses were phenomenal. A few folks were, well, not as into it. I’ve decided to include both this project, because the bad answers are even better conversation starters for the next set of conversation (this time using Twitter).
If you see a question you’d like to respond to, use the tweet button on the page — that way folks who see your tweet will be linked directly back to the question. I’m hopeful #YxYYhi will begin another form of conversation, and help more people get to know each other by answering silly questions. :)
4 months ago - Permalink