Last week, New Yorkers and tourists encountered a massive mirror wall in Flatiron Plaza. It was 30 feet long, three feet wide, seven feet tall, and ridiculously conspicuous. The west and east sides produced distorted reflections similar to those in a hall of mirrors and featured text such as this:
The north and south sides allowed pedestrians to see an accurate reflection:
Some people continued their commutes or took more pictures of the Flatiron Building while others approached our staff to ask what in the world was going on.
The distorted reflections in the mirror symbolized how social media degrades our self image and exacerbates mental health issues. It warned against excessive or unhealthy use of social media by citing relevant research. Hundreds of people stopped to interact with the mirror and many shared their experience.
One woman recounted how she suffered from depression that led to anorexia.
“Social media is one of my triggers,” she said. “I think what you guys are doing is really great.”
A mother told her story as well; her daughter was depressed, struggled with weight issues and used social media to maintain her warped self image. The response was overwhelmingly positive because it seems New Yorkers have long suspected social media could be bad for their mental health. The stories were heartbreaking, but seeing our campaign galvanize people to work on their social media use or try our new Social Media Dependency Therapy made the event hopeful.
One of the most memorable visitors was a denim-clad former Miss West Virginia who used her influence to help girls improve their self-esteem. A band featuring a Slash look-alike joined us as well, playing over the siren of a crew filming a car chase in the new “Ghostbusters” movie. It’s New York — what else would happen?
After two days, we had to remove the mirror. The impact, however, was not so easy to tear down. The conversation continued online where users healthily engaged in social media using the #ReflectReality hashtag. We handed out fliers with activities to help people with social media dependency and stayed in touch with those who were interested.
Use the below links to see how people made positive use of social media and enjoyed the event!