Univ. bloggers share stories with large audiences
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 04:02
When the admissions’ office asked junior Jacki Wahlquist to blog about her freshman year, she says she initially approached the task as a job, but her perspective on blogging changed over time.
“It is a hobby because I enjoy doing it, but it is also a job in that I have to put myself out there,” Wahlquist says.
Junior Jacki Wahlquist maintains a blog titled Jacki’s University of Delaware Blog. Admissions asked her to create the blog the summer prior to her freshman year after reading her college essay. A music management major and business administration minor, Wahlquist has featured photos of her study abroad trip to London with fellow musicians, as well as other personal and school-related posts. Wahlquist is also on the executive board for a small group of bloggers who advertise the university’s strong social and academic environment for incoming students.
Wahlquist says her group chooses new bloggers each year and has gotten hits from around the world. Wahlquist was crowned Miss Newark 2013 and will be competing for the title of Miss Delaware in the upcoming months.
As a representative of the city of Newark, Wahlquist also says she feels obligated to use her blog to draw attention to her service work. In early February, she posted a photo of herself wrapping silverware at IHOP on National Pancake Day. She says the blog has been one of her greatest selling points at pageant competitions
“Pageant judges have asked me about it in my interviews for Miss Newark,” she says. “It definitely helps. Miss Delaware keeps a blog. She needs to update it as much as she can.”
She says Facebook, more so than any other form of social media, is the best way to share her blog posts and personal updates on pageant events. Business administration professor Anuradha Sivaraman who used to teach a class on the use of blogs in marketing, says Facebook is a good medium for blog sharing, but it does have its faults. Sivaraman urges her students to never post extremely personal material on their social media accounts, so blogs can be utilized to appear more serious, she says.
Sivaraman says how it is important to write extensively on topics that you know well and think others will enjoy. Prospective employers in particular may look at your blog to gain a more in-depth perception of your character, interests and eloquence as a writer and communicator, she says.
“I don’t think that a blog will necessarily change an employer’s opinion of an applicant, but when the blog is tailored to your interests and knowledge, it can be beneficial,” Sivaraman says.
Although Sivaraman no longer teaches courses on blogging, she still encourages her students to remain committed to their field of interest and write about it even if they do not have time to post every day.
Sivaraman says she is disappointed by the lack of long form writing on the Internet today. She says while it is understandable to condense our writing in an age where speed and conciseness are key, the quality of writing suffers as a result.
While Sivaraman says long form writing will still bring in readership, she says blogs have become more popular because of their versatility in length and the introduction of programs like Wordpress and Tumblr.
Sivaraman says blogging is an opportunity to encourage writers to share their longer works to millions of readers. The only problem is there are a disproportionate number of blog readers in relation to writers, she says.
“A lot of people started out creating blogs, but it trickled down to only a few who remained interested in maintaining them,” Sivaraman says. “Right now and likely later on, the rate of readership will not be equal to the number of writers.”
Junior Rachel Ibers has just recently launched a blog with the domain name Dinner Table Science. She says she pays $18.99 per year for a blogging membership. Ibers says she hopes to keep expanding her readership.
Ibers decided to create her blog after a co-worker at the science museum where she worked encouraged her to blog about science related topics. She says when writing posts for Dinner Table Science, she aims to make scientific topics easier to understand for readers who do not know much about the topic.