By Aric McKeown
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Podcast host, Aric McKeown, contacts and explores his very elementary grasp on conversation with complete strangers.
||ExplicitSeth Flagg | Better Strangers: Episode 20||Seth Flagg and Aric chat about everything from student teaching to finding your own doppelgänger. But wait, there's more! Bad night club ideas, how to be polite to artists, getting out to support your friends, gift exchanges, fabric stores, Warhammer,||1/7/2014||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitMatthew Pollack | Better Strangers : Episode 19||From a discussion symbolism and character in movies like Gravity and Jurassic Park to plumbing the depths of fear and self doubt.||11/11/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitBruce Worden | Better Strangers: Episode 18||Candiru. That's the only word you need to know for this Better Strangers podcast with Bruce Worden.||8/21/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitAva S | Better Strangers: Episode 17||Helping strangers, regrets, saying yes more often, and more come up in this two hour episode of this Better Strangers podcast with Ava S. Also, almost getting beat up at a movie theater and a difficult bathroom cleanup.||11/19/2012||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitMary K Weinhagen | Better Strangers: Episode 16||Psychology, elevator conversations, truth, and fear are all delved into in this conversation with Mary K Weinhagen. I know! It's been 7 months! But the Better Strangers podcast is back!||11/6/2012||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitJulia H | Better Strangers: Episode 15||Movies and TV are the glue that holds this week's conversation with Julia together. Listen (and thrill) as we find common ground in television and find where that leads a conversation to! Also, we talk a little bit about the death of dreams.||12/22/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitAndy Sturdevant | Better Strangers: Episode 14||Artist, writer and arts administrator Andy Sturdevant joins the Better Strangers podcast for a discussion that includes, but is not limited to, penmanship and secret basement pool tables.||11/17/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitCior | Better Strangers: Episode 13||It has been a while, but Better Strangers is back! Hopefully my chit chat with Cior will remind you of why you've waited so patiently for me to get off my ass and call another stranger.||11/10/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitDarrell Ford | Better Strangers: Episode 12||Movies, TV, and why Michigan is better than Nebraska are a few of the topics with Darrell Ford in this week's Better Strangers podcast episode.||9/22/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitSteve Keller | Better Strangers: Episode 11||Wilderness, jobs, Alaska, pauses, and traffic are all discussed in this podcast chat with Steve Keller.||8/25/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitMel Payne | Better Strangers: Episode 10||Texans, Vegas, work friends, eating alone in restaurants, and more in this podcast conversation with Mel Payne.||8/11/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitLaTasha Cornett | Better Strangers: Episode 9||Memphis, religion, Shoe Carnival, and Top Chef are the main topics of conversation in this podcast talk with LaTasha Cornett.||8/2/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitFaye Banowetz | Better Strangers: Episode 8||Germany, silence, farm life, bitter lemon, politics, and emergency rooms are just of the tip of the iceberg in this podcast conversation with Faye Banowetz.||7/26/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitKate Gallagher | Better Strangers: Episode 7||Kate Gallagher and I have the shortest conversation to date as we discuss mayo, grains, and not dying immediately on this podcast episode.||7/5/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitHeather Meyer | Better Strangers: Episode 6||Goats, North Dakota, mountain women, telemarketing, and graffiti at the Green Mill are all part of this podcast conversation with Heather Meyer.||6/20/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitAmy Salloway | Better Strangers: Episode 5||Gaining and losing friends, jobs, piercings, and shyness are all part of thisBetter Strangers podcast episode with Amy Salloway.||6/13/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitPatrick Rauland | Better Strangers: Episode 4||Glee, Wisconsin, and Sex World are all topics discussed with Patrick Rauland in this episode of the Better Strangers podcast.||6/6/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitManna Simula | Better Strangers: Episode 3||This Better Strangers podcast features Manna Simula. Conversation is flowing a bit more naturally this week, even while dinner is being prepared during the conversation.||5/30/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitJessica McCormick | Better Strangers: Episode 2||On this Better Strangers podcast, I talk to Jessica McCormick. This episode is vastly different from episode one. You’ll see some giant conversational faults on my side of things. I analyze it all after the conversation with Jessica is over,||5/23/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitMarne Gerdes | Better Strangers: Episode 1||In this first podcast episode, I have a wonderful chat with Marne Gerdes. If this chat had gone horribly wrong, this might have been the only episode of this podcast. But Marne was open and talkative and great.||5/16/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
Can we talk more openly with strangers?
Aric McKeown one-ups the ideas of How to Win Friends and Influence People by meeting strangers and podcasting their conversations. Aric, with a shy personality, puts himself outside his comfort zone while speaking with people he has never met. Starting slowly, with the awkardness most of us feel when meeting someone new, the conversation stars rolling as two people find common interests and, in the end, have trouble saying good-bye because they have just reached the level of knowing each other and now must part. It is a great study of how two people learn of common interests then move on to getting to knowing each other. Each side of the conversation offers new personal insights. Does this happen because we feel can we open up and talk more freely to strangers? I will be listening each week.
It's pretty awesome to hear a real conversation! I'd recommend a listen
Better Strangers: The Next Great Social Experiment
What I truly adore about Mr. McKeown is how every one of his works seems to be about redefining society in some way. His webcomic, Blank It, shows a touching psychological approach to isolation and near existential absurdism. Hey, I Found Your Sign is designed to add a societal awareness to our own advertising actions (if Aric found our sign) or to our own reactions to advertising (we become blatantly aware of how much advertising is ingrained into our culture). Your Notness shows, in a lovely parody of normal picture rating sites, societal views of the ugly and how our society is largely based around rankings, particularly of appearance. Now, Better Strangers dissects the conversation and turns it into a bitesized sociolinguistic study on how people interast with one another. Social awkwardness plagues modern western society. In places like Tanzania Africa, everyone talks to you and everyone has an interest in you. But here in America no one even attempts to converse with strangers unless we are forced into close contact with them through school, non-profit groups, careers, etc. People have developed their own personal bubble that they are not willing to breech, even if breeching it is the only way to make proper enjoyable conversation. Better Strangers aims to teach us that breaking these personnal spheres can produce new friendships and acquaintances, and it also acts as a case study in developing conversational skills. Plus, the raw comedy of the situations produces more that mere chuckles. I rate this with 5 stars, just as I would rate any of Mr. McKeown's projects. Aric may not have much recognition now, but if everyone sat down and listened to the concerns he voices, the world would be a better, more self-aware place. One of the few most underrated, yet greatest, thinkers of our time.
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