The Nicest Place on the Internet: Hugs From People You’ve Never Met

Having one of those days full of sad rainclouds, where nothing’s quite going right? Well swing on over to the nicest place on the internet, and we’ll see if we can’t make you feel a little better.

Made entirely from user submissions, the site features a rolling display of people hugging their webcams – and is surprisingly moving. Users can also create their own videos on YouTube and submit them to the site for possible inclusion.

I LOVE this concept, and it’s one of those rare Internet projects that somehow reaches past the technology and all the 1’s and 0’s. It feels personal, despite the fact that it’s just a YouTube Playlist with a song in the background.

There’s something about the simulated hug that does get to me – the zooming in to the person’s shoulder, seeing the details of their shirt or their neck. It feels surprisingly intimate to me. In particular, the third video (with the woman walking by, then turning in recognition) was quite moving.

I woke up incredibly early this morning (around 5AM), and was sitting at my office desk when I saw this. The sky was just starting to brighten, but there was no one else awake in my neighborhood. And out of nowhere, all these random people from across the world showed up on my screen, and starting hugging me. I wish I could do this moment more justice – it was a great thing to experience, so early in the morning.

For those interested in the song playing in the background – it’s I Have Never Loved Someone, by My Brightest Diamond.

// Edit: The whole time I was on the site watching people hug the camera… I was remembering a very moving story about a hug, told by Lucille Clifton. Ignore the first few rambling paragraphs about me, and jump down to her story. I wish to God I had a video of her telling this, because it’s something that was incredibly powerful… and has stayed with me all these years.

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