In between writing college admissions essays, working a summer job and maintaining an active social life, incoming Greenport High School senior Skye Gillispie is also the girl behind the camera in an emerging social media phenomenon.
The 17-year-old is using Facebook, Twitter and the photo sharing app Instagram as a platform for a photo blog called “Humans of Greenport.” The photos, inspired by the popular “Humans of New York,” profile everyone from village politicians to business owners to the everyday folks who add to Greenport’s unique charm and character.
“People come here to visit and they love all the sights, but they really don’t know the people that make Greenport such a special place,” Skye said. “It’s been a lot of fun. I love my community and I love to blog.”
Lots of other people love it, too.
“This is such a beautiful way to show off the North Fork and recognize the people that live and work in Greenport,” said t Libby Koch, a Greenporter featured in one of the photos. “Skye is amazing. This is what it is all about — putting smiles on people’s faces.”
Since its launch in June, the “Humans of Greenport” Facebook page has received more than 600 “likes,” in addition to many Twitter and Instagram followers. Through the power of social media, the posts have been shared and viewed by thousands more.
“I didn’t expect much to come of it, but it reached over 2,000 people on the first day,“ Skye said. “I knew it would get positive feedback, but I didn’t realize how many people it would reach.”
Skye said she has a running list of villagers she hopes to feature and so far she hasn’t had any problem checking them off. Previous photos have featured local historian Gail Horton hanging out at home and Mayor David Nyce celebrating his birthday.
“I always keep my eyes open,” she said. “Sometimes it’s spontaneous. I take photos whenever I can catch people in their natural habitat.”
Community and communications are a way of life for Skye. Her mother, Yvonne Lieblein, is a marketing and communications specialist and the founder of the public relations firm Lieblein Associates.
“I’m really interested in public relations, marketing and entrepreneurship because of my mom,” Skye said. “She is so creative with things like this and she really inspires me to reach out to the community.
“It started because I’ve always followed ‘Humans of New York’ and I got to thinking about all the quirky people we have in the village,” she said. “I was literally just sitting on my couch when I decided to make the account.”
Brandon Stanton, a young self-taught photographer like Skye, started the critically acclaimed “Humans of New York” in 2010. His initial goal was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and mark their locations on a city map. Today, “Humans of New York” has close to one million followers and is the subject of an upcoming book.
Skye said she looks forward to turning her passion into a career and plans to study public relations and marketing when she heads to college.
Her followers are looking forward to Skye’s next steps, too.
“It’s exciting to thinking about how far she’s going to go in her life,” Ms. Koch said.