Life on the Hill: the Community Responds

August 31, 2006

Bloggers love to blog about blogs. The Cornell blogosphere has been on fire over the launch of Life on the Hill, the Cornell Student Blogging Project.

Elliott Back:

Reading over their last forty entries, the content seems to be about on the same level of insight and quality as the median of Livejournal, Myspace, and Xanga. … The short of it is that the Cornell University Student Blogging Project is just a watered down PR machine written by a gang of unfocused novice bloggers.

Christian Montoya:

This editorial from the Daily Sun sums it all up nicely. If you don’t want to read it, at least read this quote: “… in trying to maintain a positive face for the student body, they’ve chosen a group that does not truly represent the breadth of that body.”

Caroline Dias, one of six Life on the Hill bloggers, responds to my post:

In all seriousness, let me use this entry to point out what I actually want to do with this blog. I intend this blog to be informative to prospective students on what it’s like being at Cornell today. If I get lost in the inane details of my daily life, please call me on it.

Let’s see what prospective students think. Sam Jackson:

This seeming failure to launch brings us back to what I keep saying and trying to stress to some of my institutional readers–authenticity is more important for good PR than anything else.

Much ado about nothing or is Cornell’s blogging initiative really a big deal?


Facebook Cleanup Efforts Continue

August 29, 2006

Facebook’s crackdown on questionable profiles has been previously noted here. Not surprisingly, it continues.

Wilfred Drew, a librarian at SUNY Morrisville, lost the account he set up for the library. Facebook’s response:


This account has been disabled, as we do not allow profiles for organizations or other non-human entities. If you would like me to change the name on this account to your own, I can do that and reconfirm it. Thanks for your understanding.


On a side note, Drew received a B.S. from Cornell University according to his resume.

Ethan Durant’s Jesus Christ is also gone:

What am I supposed to tell all my facebook faithful who depend on me for their heaven points? And my apostle Karen? A great injustice has been committed toward the inter-webs by that great gloved hand called censorship!!

Another recently lost profile is Roscoe the squirrel.

Life on the Hill

August 28, 2006

It appears that the Cornell Student Blogging Project has been launched as Life on the Hill. Official description:

Curious about life at Cornell? Drop in on our student blogs and see how they find balance between the challenges of academics and recreational pursuits. Pick one to follow through the year, or bounce back and forth between them to get a broad picture of life on the Hill.

The six finalists:
Jenna Bromberg ’08 (Hotel Administration)
Ben Crovella ’07 (Ag & Life Sciences)
Caroline Dias ’08 (Arts & Sciences)
Nikki Gusz ’08 (Arts & Sciences)
Jennifer Lin ’09 (Arts & Sciences)
Alex Payne ’09 (Human Ecology)

The blogs offer a highly detailed look into the students’ daily lives. Why would anyone outside their circle of close friends be interested in following them? Why is the university spending money on this?

Spotting Fake Celebs On

August 24, 2006

From “Potemkin Visages: Spotting Fake Celebs On,” which appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal this week:

The proliferation of celebrity posers frustrates the many MySpace members who use the site to follow news about — and send fan mail to — pop icons and other prominent personalities who join for cheap publicity.

Obviously the article discusses MySpace and not Facebook, but if this is considered top financial news nowadays, I must be on to something.

Facebook Wiki

August 19, 2006

While looking through the visitor statistics for this website, I noticed something. One of the referrers (people clicked links from these pages to get to this blog) was:

The page appears to be an internal document, inaccessible from computers outside the Facebook network. Although its contents cannot be retrieved, the URL provides some insight into the world of Facebook. It turns out there is someone at the company keeping track of related websites, such as this one. There is even a wiki set up to assist in the process. A cause for concern?

Cornell Student Blogging Project

August 7, 2006

Have you heard of the Student Blogging Project at Cornell University? It is meant to address the problem that “the student voice is largely missing from Cornell’s web site.”


Because these blogs will be highly visible, it is important that they are maintained regularly. You will be expected to post at least two entries per week during the academic year (yes, even during prelims and study week and finals).

And, because these blogs are highly visible, you will be expected to be intelligent about both the approach to and the crafting of your posts with regard to subject matter, language, and tone.

You will be expected to attend one orientation session before you begin blogging. In addition, there may be semi-regular meetings for bloggers that you would also need to attend.


Assuming that each student makes a minimum of two blog entries per week (one entry per week during breaks), they are eligible for a total of $50 in gift cards per month.

Can this really be considered blogging or just a lame PR stunt?

I just wish I knew about this earlier. Applications to join the project were due on July 24. I am not sure if anyone were approved, but “the most famous blogger at Cornell” was rejected.