November 9, 2006

Blog Fights Library Boredom

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Cornell’s newest blog has hit the streets, or rather, the library., an anonymous blog created to facilitate all types of communication from the most sophisticated to the most obscene, is Cornell’s newest answer to “soul-crippling boredom,” according to the site.

The blog is one of seven ‘Bored at’ sites created for top East Coast universities.

The trend started in February of this year when Jonathan Pappas, a former Columbia student, created, a blog for Columbia students named in honor of Butler Library.

Pappas told The Sun, “Nowadays, you can’t do anything online without your internet persona being tied to everything. The underlying philosophy: say whatever you want to say without having to worry about socially acceptable norms.”

The site immediately gained popularity as a place to say anything and everything. Pappas took the site down over the summer and re-released it on September 1. Soon after, Bored at Lamont was created for Harvard and Bored at Bobst was made for NYU.

Pappas expressed concern that his creation would not succeed at other universities because it is a “culture specific to Columbia.” However, he decided to expand the concept to other schools after Ivy Gate Blog published an article about the ‘Bored at’ sites. The requests by other Ivy League students for their school-specific ‘Bored at’ blog following the article sealed the deal, said Pappas.

In the last few weeks, four new sites, Bored at Baker, Bored at Firestone, Bored at Sterling and Bored at Uris have been created for Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale and Cornell respectively. The first post to Bored at Uris was on Oct. 26.

Pappas expressed his desire from the outset — to “create a forum for truly free speech.” In doing so, he has made it possible for anyone to post their opinions without them being traced back to their writer.

Posts range from complaints about how hard tests are to requests for booty calls. Everything is anonymous and readers of the blog can agree or disagree with statements by pressing buttons. Posts can also be chosen as newsworthy — posted in the upper right hand corner of the page, or trash worthy — nominated for deletion.

As of yesterday, Columbia’s Bored at Butler had 24,757 posts.

Cornell’s version of the blog has yet to gain the same level of popularity, with 97 posts as of yesterday.

Pappas commented: “I haven’t tried hard enough to get the word out. I figured if it catches on, it’s going to have to be done through word of mouth because I have an extremely limited budget.”

However, it is clear that a number of people use the blog.

Someone posted to last Wednesday: “to the girl sitting across from me in the Kinkeldy room: you are cute.”

Supposedly the same girl — whether or not this is the case is unknown — wrote back: “dear guy I sat across from yesterday in Kinkeldy room: same time, same place, Saturday?”

A poster to the comments section of Ivy Gate Blog’s article about the ‘Bored at’ blogs said: “Now that Facebook sold out, we need something distinctly college.”

And many believe that Bored at Uris is just the dose of “college” that Cornell needs.

“It’s a great procrastination device. I wish I could just get my work done instead, but it’s pretty cool,” said Jeff Krock ’10.

Others are not so positive about the blog.

John Wang ’10 said, “I think it’s kind of stupid, especially because no one uses it right now.”

Michael Lazar ’10 added, “Just what we need, another blog. If you are so bored, why don’t you leave the library?”