Thursday, August 09, 2007

To increase Vancouver's friendliness, say "Ok!"

So a few weeks back, I was reading an article by Agasel on Beyond Robson that promoted the use of a cute little button (see picture on BR's link or Ok! Social website) that is intended to promote friendly behavior on our part. That is, if you see me wearing my Ok button, you should feel free to approach me and strike a conversation.

I am the kind of guy who would actually need to be looking for the Ok buttons, because I have a tendency to strike up conversations with strangers like there's no tomorrow. And I tend to be a bit of a social butterfly, but the truth is, I enjoy the idea of the Ok button because I think Vancouver's shell sometimes can be hard to crack (I have a post that I am preparing on Vancouver's effect on people but I am not ready to post it yet).

From the OkSocial website, I quote:


It's pretty hard to randomly speak to someone you do not know on the streets of Vancouver. Even in public spaces, without a personal reference or formal introduction, it just isn't commonly done. Making small talk in the course of our daily lives contributes to a sense of community and well being. In addition, a chance conversation can lead to new friendships, adventures, and experiences.

The OK button

An OK button is handsome and functional. You wear it as you navigate your day. It tells people that you're not only great to talk to, but you like the idea of a warmer and more open city. It's an icon to let people know that it's OK if they actually try and speak with you. That's all there is to it.

At any rate, Steve from was kind enough to send me my Ok buttons for free, which I really really appreciated (I live in Vancouver). But I just recently found out that he and his team are shipping them all over the world, so I'd recommend you to go and get your Ok button and start striking conversations! Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any weirdos that approach you whether you're wearing your Ok button or not.


Marcela said...

My goodness, look at the stuff that humans have to come across to talk!!

I don't like the idea of the button though... casual conversation should stay casual, I think. But I guess it does help some people, so in that sense its ok.

Raul said...

I agree that conversation should be casual, but I think that having these "designated chatters" (just like designated drivers) allows people who would normally be shy to just be able to directly ask you a question, because "it's ok to talk to you".

Moreover, I noticed that while I was wearing my button, people actually asked me randomly "why are you wearing the button". So I explained the idea, and they liked it.

Now, with your friendliness, I doubt anyone would have any second thoughts about striking a conversation with you. You're always very charming and friendly!