The staff of Wesleyan University's blog, Wesleying, only learned about this contest by spotting something unusual on their site's traffic report: a flurry of visitors navigating via Columbia University's Bwog.net. Curious, they visited the site. Soliciting votes, Bwog had written: "Just please don't let us get beat by Wesleyan."
"There's like this Ivy League hostility to the fact that we're a small liberal arts school, and we've done something better than them," says Holly Wood, a Wesleying editor with a sweet name.
Wood and a friend launched Wesleying over the summer, but it's grown rapidly since the launch. Wood started the blog as a place to post campuswide events--"sort of like a Facebook event thing, only people actually read it," Wood says. On a cliquey campus, the service was welcome. "A lot of people who have an event and want lots of people to come to it don't know enough people outside their social circle to [invite]," Wood says.
The blog has expanded its scope since, breaking news and acting as a cheerleader for Wesleyan's proudly "weird" culture. Wood and company covered the administration's surprise decision to paint over years of graffiti on an underground tunnel system seven days before the campus bi-weekly, the Argus. Wesleying jumped into the fight, too, siding with a popular Facebook group called "Keep Wesleyan Weird" and endorsing a graffiti artist's declaration that the administration had wiped out "decades" of history.
That same month, Wesleying christened a new campus tradition: a game called "Zombies Vs. Humans", which became very popular. "It consumed people's lives, to the point where they weren't sleeping," Wood says. "Their roommate would be a Zombie and they would be a Human, and they just couldn't go to sleep because they would be tagged in the middle of the night." Nearly 300 people played, according to Wood. The Argus said 250. But then, who trusts the mainstream media, anyway?
"The glory of being a blogger is that you don't necessarily have to have journalistic integrity, because you don't have editors," Wood says. "We don't really see ourselves as journalists ... It's more of just--we're capturing the mood that we see on campus and putting it online."
UPDATE: Since we wrote this, the Wesleying blog has updated its story a bit. Originally, it told us that it first heard about our contest by looking at site traffic. Now it has clarified that the student newspaper--the Argus--was actually the first to let it know about the contest. You can read Wesleying's full clarification here .