Part of the TED series: When Strangers Meet
Our lives are increasingly insular. We are in a hurry, our heads are down, minds elsewhere, we hear only the voices we already recognize and rarely take the effort to experience something or someone new. When Strangers Meet argues for the pleasures and transformative possibilities of talking to people you don't know. Talking to a stranger pulls you into a shared humanity, it's a source of creative energy, it opens your world, it cements your relationship to the places you live and work and play, it's a beautiful interruption in the steady routines of our lives. Talking to strangers wakes you up.
But who is a stranger? Many of us have a deep-seated belief that strangers are dangerous. That idea cripples us and prevents us from connecting with the wider world. Exploring the rich meanings that are conjured up in these experiences of fleeting intimacy, Stark renders visible the hidden processes by which we decide who to trust in passing, and the unwritten rules by which these encounters operate. When Strangers Meet teaches readers how to start talking to strangers, and includes adventurous challenges for those who dare.
Kio Stark is the author of the novel Follow Me Down and the independent learning handbook Don't Go Back to School. Stark has worked in interactive advertising, community research, game design, and data journalism. She consults for start-ups and large companies helping them think about stranger interactions among their users and audiences. She writes, teaches, and speaks around the world about stranger interactions, independent learning, and relational technology. She lives in New York and teaches at NYU.