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By Eric Weld   Date: 6/11/10 Bookmark and Share

Got a Topic? Start a Blog

Why blog?

Why expend your time and creativity organizing thoughts, advices and knowledge into an online periodical for public consumption?

For those who publish Weblogs, it’s about sharing information that might be of use to their readers, in whatever niche that happens to be. And to be sure, the niches addressed by today’s “blogosphere” are multitudinous and range from the common to the obscure. Blog numbers are not reliable, and blogs come and go, but a tracking company named BlogPulse estimates there are 126 million blogs worldwide ( estimates 184 million).

Not surprisingly, the Smith community hosts scores of bloggers, featuring periodic discourse on topics pertinent to students, prospectives, staff and faculty members, and others.

Five Smith seniors and recent alumnae launched a new blog, titled Strategic Exits, that tracks their lives in the world beyond Smith.

“Everyone goes through this terrifying transition,” says Hannah Hickok ’11, who contributes to Strategic Exits under the pseudonym Senioritis, referring to students navigating the world after college. “Why not share with each other in a forum that allows for debate and discussion? It makes the whole process of graduating and trying to figure out the post-grad time a lot less scary.”

The latest entry, by anonymous blogger NickyenPeru, laments the recent graduate’s frustrations with taking the Graduate Record Exam—sentiments no doubt in common with many of her fellow Smithies.

Jan Morris, administrative assistant in student affairs, blogs, it might be said, from the opposite end of the stress spectrum. Her new blog, Wellness Words of Wisdom, is also intended mostly for students. It leads with a weekly phrase of inspiration by history’s wordsmiths followed by Morris’ thoughts and insights about the phrase.

“I hope to offer messages that are insightful and beneficial to my readers,” says Morris. Based on Dean’s Dailies, an email of inspiring quotes provided by a dean at St. Lawrence University, where her daughter attended college, Morris’ blog aims to offset the stresses of college life. “I found those Dean’s Dailies to be uplifting and inspirational and I thought I could contribute something similar here at Smith,” she said.

This week’s words of wisdom on which Morris blogs: “Confidence is developed by taking risks that challenge your own inner strength, not by assuming the character that others want”—Byron Pulsifer.

A sign near Grand Isle, La., posted on the blog Living with the Spill in Grand Isle, by Rachel Rock-Blakek ’09.

While many blogs impart opinions and commentary, others exist for the purpose of keeping readers updated on a particular group’s activities.

Jaime Ginsberg, Smith’s field hockey coach, launched her team’s blog in 2008 “to share what Smith field hockey’s team was all about beyond the scores and stats.”

The field hockey blog will be particularly instrumental, she says, in keeping readers updated on the project this summer to replace its practice and game field with artificial turf. Pictures and brief videos (with comments) of the ongoing project currently populate the blog.

Other coaches also maintain team blogs: Smith Swimming & Diving, for example, and Squash.

As well, the admission office maintains blogs by students, very popular among prospective students and their families.

And, it’s impossible to say how many Smith alumnae blogs are online. Rachel Rock-Blake ’09 describes her close-up view of a sore subject in her blog Living with the Spill on Grand Isle (Louisiana), where she is spending time as part of her job with the Mystic Seaport Research Facility. “We need to keep this terrible tragedy in the forefront of everyone’s consciousness,” she says.

Why blog?

“Blogging gives me, personally, the sense that even when life is extremely overwhelming and scary, there are still these wonderful moments, and these themes and stories that weave together everything we do,” says Hickok, aka Senioritis.

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