Vijay Anand | The Startup Guy.

Ideas to Toss: College Blogging.

Posted on: December 14, 2007

Yesterday friend and blogger Kiruba and I, met to discuss about some stuff that we have been mulling over. Eventually the conversation drifted over some of the “empires” people have built simply by using blogging as a platform. While on one end there are folks who are individual silos and building their own brand/authority, there are others who’ve taken simple concepts and just built an entire network – one example would be metroblogging itself.

If you think about it, its a fabulous and ridiculously simple concept. A group of guys come together and start writing about the city. Why? Because they are passionate about it. This is the crucial aspect. Its not because they want to get paid, but because they want to talk about whats happening in the city – as a perspective through their own eyes. I guess you could call it biased citizen journalism, but thats upto you. In any case, they become hugely successful and then figure if they can start other city chapters and eventually what becomes is what Metroblogging is right now. Huge, lots of bloggers, spanning across cities and across the world and the beauty of it all – no one gets paid. Talk about that!

It’s a very powerful concept if you look at it. People write because they are passionate about it. There is a limit on the number of writers per city (which i understand is because of a licensing term), and its a win win situation for everyone. The end result is a network that spans as wide as the globe.

One has gotta do something as big as that, even if its dreaming.

Now while we were discussing this, I was wondering if this can be replicated into something else. I have been lately keeping an eye on a few blogs that are written by college students and most of them are quite popular. I remember catching up with the blogs and site of my fellow classmates during university days, but we barely get time to say hello anymore. That’s another story. The truth is that, most college students do have an exciting and buzzing life and this is the moment in time when the same event usually goes through different perspectives.

Fact #1: College Student blogs are popular. Most of them.
Fact #2: There seems to be a definite demand and pull for narrations of what is happening in different colleges.

Now, put these two together and take the model of Metroblogging. Lets not go global, but focus on a city. I believe there are quite a few colleges in this city of Chennai itself. If we do get two bloggers from each of these colleges (a guy and a girl – both of them do see very different variations of the same thing) and eventually grow the team to about five or six per college with some rules (no usage of names, and no back biting another author), this could possibly become a nice and community platform to start with.

If you ask me if there is a business model to this, there definitely is one. But you are gonna have to meet me in person if you want to know that part.

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10 Responses to "Ideas to Toss: College Blogging."

Sure Vijay, Nice post.

I agree with you. College blogging can certainly be done, in a more structured manner, and become an informal college newsletter to the outside public.

interesting biz idea… u should start work on a book of viable ideas 🙂 You sure got some talent on how to turn simple ideas into effective ones and into biz plans !!!

@Vijay:
You are trying to apply the metro-blogging structure to college, wherein you see the business model. But this idea, however unique it may sound, purely hangs on the assumption that college students like metro-bloggers, who are passionate about the city, will be passionate about their colleges. And that is probably where you are making a mistake.

As far as I know, apart from the IITs, no one likes their college. Getting a bunch of these folks together to write college related stuff will only get you articles on “id card cribbing”, “cellphone ban cribbing”, “bad exam paper evaluation”, “ban of girl-boy interaction in college cribbing”, “bad canteen food” et al. I have met so many folks from so many colleges and trust me this is what they talk about. Even if they are studying in St. Josephs, which unarguably makes the best food, they crib about their canteen.

So at the end of the day, you would be recruiting a bunch of folks who would be passionate about bashing their colleges up (of course without naming). But then like it would take a genius to guess which college it is that the author is talking about when he/she points out that his/her college fines them 1000 bucks for talking to the opposite sex.

@ Ganesh:
Actually, that is precisely what I am expecting. College students are usually one with a lot of vibrancy and do have the audacity to challenge things. What will come out with be a lot of stuff that happens within colleges, jovial moments with students, the odd professors, the things that happen in the name of “discipline” – that is precisely what one should bet on – isnt that what makes college life interesting?. If one wants to hear “good” things to hear or read, might as well pick the college prospectus and go through it 🙂

And this isnt unique in anyway… just a variant implementation of the same old stuff that has been around for ages.

Of course the key criteria for this to work would be someone who does this for the fun of it and not for business. If someone picks this up, and can dig through the initial slogging, there is potential.

Recently The TV18 group started something like what you have said.

campus18.com

But they also have many things apart from blogs. They have built a huge team spanning many cities with each college having 2 to 4 bloggers.

I guess it is going on well in the other cities but the Chennai one didn’t click!
I was in it and it got boring in the initial stages itself 😉

Ramanujam,

What’s with the layout itself to begin with? Looks like I walked into some cartoon or something 🙂

Well written article. But most students will only rant about their college, which will cause other problems. Lets face it, almost no one actually likes and appreciates their college, and the fact that the educational system in India is far from developed is just one of the reasons.

Munim,

I’d say that would be what would drive the traffic, but think about it, inspite of all the ranting, there would be an ounce of truth to it all. And college kids, as cynical as they are, they do go out of their way to praise a good thing or a good time they have. It might even become an encyclopedia for school kids as they decide which colleges they want to pick for their higher studies.

A open voice as such will be what will give the education system the maturity that it needs.

I agree on the point that this kind of an initiative will only lead to loads of college students cribbing about their colleges. The concern here is whether anyone would be interested in reading all that cribbing. Sometimes the cribbing can be monotonous even across cities.

Well, if it was quite simple, someone would have done it already. If citizen journalism is possible (Eg. Gawker Media, Instablogs, and the entire blogger medium), why not?

As I said, there is some initial slogging involved in this, but it can turn out into something really big – considering that more than 50% of the indian population is less than 25.

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