For bloggers, finding a big online following is often the hardest part of conquering the noise of the Internet, where success is measured in clicks as much as dollars.
With this challenge in mind, almost 50 students braved pouring rain Thursday to attend Boston University’s first “Blog Party,” a networking event hosted by the Howard Thurman Center.
College of Communication sophomore Ivellisse Morales, herself an avid blogger, said she organized the event with HTC Assistant Director Raul Fernandez to help student bloggers promote their content.
“[Blogs] can’t really be advertised,” she said. “It’s more of an underground type of thing. Nowadays, the Internet has substituted face-to-face communication, but blogs make it more personal.”
For almost two hours, dozens of student bloggers connected the old-fashioned way &- face-to-face &- sharing tips and making acquaintances in an effort to form a more cohesive online community at BU. The event cost students nothing but earned them several new online contacts.
Morales, an editor for the blog BU Latino, said the freedom of an online journal makes it a perfect medium for self-expression.
“I feel that blogging nowadays is a crucial form of communication,” Morales said. “Blogging can serve as someone’s diary or outlet to express their opinions and who they are.”
Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore kicked off the party with a PowerPoint presentation to the attendees showcasing his own online words.
“They invited me to speak, but I’m not going to speak,” Elmore said after the event. “I’m just going to blog. I’m going to blog it out. Maybe I’ll throw in a little music while I’m at it.”
His presentation consisted of just one slide that focused on why the student voice matters and how individuals can use their posts to effect change.
“I think I’m going to blog about how students have always changed the world through their own means of expression,” he said. “Blogging is the way that young people will be able to create networks that will change the world. I’ll let the words and the music that I select speak for myself.”
Elmore also plugged his own blog, where the dean posts everything from his thoughts on current events to his reactions to popular YouTube videos.
“Not sure what to make of this,” Elmore posted in reaction to Der Printergang, a YouTube video that satirized BU’s lessened print quotas by changing subtitles in a scene from an Adolf Hitler biopic.
Students said the chance to share their work with their peers was well worth the trouble of attending the event.
College of Arts and Sciences junior Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who edits the blog BU Culture Shock, said she enjoyed connecting with other students through blogs.
“[This event] let us share our work with others,” she said. “We can share what we have, and what we have on our minds, as well as what we have on our computers.”
The event helped students because a quality blog is still not doing its job if few readers know about it, said COM freshman Ryan Piccirillo. Often, other bloggers are the sites’ most avid readers.
“I definitely think that blog publicity is important,” Piccirillo said. “I don’t write dozens of posts and articles a month for myself. I write them for other people to read.”
Attendees also watched a video made by CAS senior Ahmed Ahhmed called “C’mon BU: Midterm Student Distribution and the Mysteries of Quickie Jobs,” posted on BU Culture Shock on Feb. 26.
The video features Ahmed talking about the mysteries of quickie job board postings and people who show up at midterms.
As an organizer, Morales said she was pleased that the weather did not deter the attendees.
“I’m really surprised at the turnout,” she said. “It [was] raining and it [the event] was only about blogging. You’d be surprised at how big the blog community is, so we wanted to bring all the bloggers together.”