“We’re all ears,” states their slogan and they mean it. Meet “Overheard LA,” the internet’s powerhouse for conversations that were strictly not meant for one’s ears. With a whopping 1.6M followers on Instagram and 65.6K Followers on Twitter, “Overheard LA” collects some of the most hilarious and relatable conversations out there.
According to the project’s description, “Overheard is the insta-voice of our biggest cities; a unique media brand that satirizes millennial culture with engaging, localized content.”
Its founder, Jesse Margolis, started the account on a whim in 2015 after listening to a very Los Angeles-style conversation at a health food store. Now, it has multiple spinoffs, including Overheard New York.
For those who don’t get what the whole buzz is about, scroll down for the funny conversations featuring ripe avocados, brewed coffee, feta blocks, coughing in public, and… you name it. And after you’re done, be sure to check our previous posts on Overheard LA here and here.
If you’ve spent time in any of Los Angeles’ panoply of juice bars, coffee shops, or yoga studios, casually chatting with your friend or colleague, chances are you’ve been eavesdropped on. And that lighthearted talk you had about your brand new prosciutto cutting board delivered by Amazon drone is likely to have been listened to by thousands of people. Or, rather, read by 1.6M followers on the OverheardLA Instagram account.
The Instagram page dedicated to millennial culture and its whimsical whereabouts has now turned into a full-blown international brand. It now features three Instagram accounts, @overheardla, @overheardnewyork, and @overheardlondon, that add up to over 5 million followers across their Instagram Accounts.
Overheard also has its hip online shop with signature hoodies, mugs, sweatshirts, and stickers, all reflecting the joys and sorrows of urban millennial life.
To find out more about this cool project and how it’s been doing lately, Bored Panda reached out to the Overheard representative for a chat. They told us that the project has certainly grown over the last few years.
“While our home will always be Instagram, we have begun to expand to other verticals such as text via the community app Clubhouse, where we host a biweekly comedy show and are exploring some really exciting product ventures.”
At its heart, Overheard is all about connecting people through a shared location or experience, “whether that is living in NYC (@overheardnewyork), dating on Bumble (@overheardbumble), or talking about celebrities (@overheardcelebs). It’s our goal to make people laugh and provide moments of joy and self-reflection,” the spokesperson explained.
It all started way back in 2015 when its founder Jesse Margolis created Overheard LA and San Francisco on a whim after listening to one such conversation in LA at a health food store. Now it's run by a team of seven. “We are fortunate to work with great brands like Bumble, Le Labo, Netflix, etc. Currently, we see ourselves as social-first local media, and plan to expand into podcasts, local events, product, and more video content.”
When asked what kind of conversations best reflect Overheard LA's concept, Overheard told us that it’s really anything that touches a shared experience, like “dating, finance, spirituality, food, or local knowledge.”
A year ago, Jesse decided to turn to a print game in order to explore the brand’s potential behind social media.
“We’ve got these eight accounts now with cities and themes and we’re kind of exploring how that brand manifests itself in different areas. The newspaper idea is our first foray—it’s half marketing stunt. We’re essentially going to be doing a newsletter,” he told New York Times.
"We aren’t journalists—we basically do our best. I think half of the overheard stuff is legit overheard strangers. I think a lot of it is like a group of five friends drinking and talking. And someone spontaneously says something funny and the friends send it in."
When it comes to selecting the conversations for Overheard, the team curates user-generated content. At the same time, Jesse explained that they are also directing it toward millennial themes in a different way.
“The reason the accounts are successful is because we’re not just posting some dumb quote—we’re focusing on these themes of dating and digital life and food and fitness and Instagram culture and all that stuff.” The topics are all too relatable to anyone living in a concrete jungle where work, home, gym, dating, food, and whatnot are all interconnected.
At the same time, Overheard LA captures the more absurd elements of LA life.“We’re trying to make fun of the bubble and occasionally we can get caught in the bubble ourselves by doing that, and not necessarily showing just how unique and diverse LA has become,” the creator explained.
Jesse believes that the current world is really divided into two realities, the online presence and the real world. “I’ve learned just how clearly we are now living in two worlds: the real world, IRL. And this 'Black Mirror' thing is happening.”
No wonder most of the Overheard conversations feel equally painfully real, yet placed in a context that makes them instantly sound funnier, edgier, and more absurd. But isn’t that precisely what digital reality does to all things IRL?
After all, is it ever possible to capture the instantaneity and honesty of the overheard conversation that was never meant to be read online in the first place?
Note: this post originally had 95 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.