Case Study: FREE HUGS Campaign

“Since you can not do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.”

~ St. Augustine of Hippo

I get by with a Little Help from my Friends super_hug

The need to connect is by far one of the most ingrained feels of any complex living organism on the planet.  However somehow, despite all our technology and resources, humanity as a whole denies this feeling invariably fighting a losing battle with itself.  Through fear and conceit, we have gradually become a world of cynics afraid of each other, suspicious of what might happen if we were to allow ourselves to open up even for a brief moment.  I’m not going to say that we don’t have cause for such caution.  It would be naive with all the hatred, hypocrisy and sickness in the world to consider otherwise.  But why, despite faith in a higher power and evidence of ubiquitous love in this world, do we choose to ignore a person three feet in front of us rather than acknowledge their presence?  What would happen if we saw the same person, interact another with no preoccupation or agenda?  Therein lies the beauty of the FREE HUGS campaign.

For those who aren’t already aware of FREE HUGS

Established in Sydney June 30, 2004 by Juan Mann, a pseudonym of his actual name, FREE HUGS is a social movement whereby individuals offer willing strangers hugs in recognizable public settings and is meant to spur random acts of kindness.  The campaign received international recognition after a related music video was released on Youtube in 2006 by artists Suck Puppies.  Sense then, FREE HUGS has received relatively consistent support from members of the general public.

The following is a research case study conducted on how random acts of kindness can be successfully applies to encourage trust and a quicker rate of return during a social campaign.  For those who have participated in FREE HUGS in the past, I would greatly appreciate your take on the experience, whether it was worth the effort, and if you would consider participating in another campaign in the near future.



3 responses to “Case Study: FREE HUGS Campaign

  1. It makes me so sad that with the 100 billion ways I’m connected, I still lose touch with people.

    I think we should go around hugging strangers and see what happens.

    • You’re not the only one Stacie, I’m sure.
      Your comment brings to mind the differences in effort and attention between people who hear you and people who choose to listen.

  2. We used to play a fun game, between friends, called the ‘compliment game’. The idea wasn’t to be facetious or glib — just to be more open and giving with compliments.

    They went a long way. The world was a happier place!

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