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Students blog their minds

March 25th, 2010

Princeton University’s WordNet defines a blogger as “a person who keeps and updates a blog, [which is] a shared online journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies.” Some blogs have gained national prominence as avenues for opinion, cooking recipes, travel experiences and relationship advice. Bloggers include experts, amateurs, senior citizens, working individuals and even students. 

John Carroll Senior Rob Pitingolo started his blog, “Extraordinary Observations” (blog.robpitingolo.org) in November of 2004. He writes about politics, urban activities and economics from the perspective of a member of “Generation Y.” 

“I started really taking the blog seriously when I decided I wanted to improve the quality of content, the frequency of posting, and build a loyal reader base,” Pitingolo said. “I blog because it is the most effective vehicle for me to articulate my thoughts on the topics I think about everyday.”

Junior Elizabeth Stark writes on her blog, VeggieGirl (veggiegirlvegan.blogspot.com), about her battles with Crohn’s Disease, numerous food allergies, and her determination to not let those affect her life. 

“I blog about my life experiences since I know that others out there can relate,” she said. 

Both bloggers have gained loyal readers during their relatively short time on the blogosphere. Pintingolo receives about 2,000 unique visitors per month and has approximately 150 RSS feed subscribers, who receive updates to his blog when he posts. Stark’s blog posts receive a steady amount of comments, even though recently she has blogged less frequently.

“I appreciate each and every comment that I receive and the fact that people are interested in the blog,” she said. “I was even recognized as ‘the VeggieGirl blogger’ while vacationing in Chicago two years ago by a reader.”

Pintingolo and his blog are syndicated on numerous Web sites and blogs for young professionals. Last summer, he was invited to write on Newsweek Magazine’s “Generation O” blog, which chronicled eleven Obama voters from across the country. 

“I blog because I enjoy the art of writing and because I appreciate the feedback I get from readers,” Pintingolo said. “I have interacted with people from all over the world on topics that we find mutually fascinating.”

Stark finds blogging to be a great way to show her creativity and express herself to people all over the world on a topic she finds interesting. 

“It is a lot of fun no matter what topic you blog about – it is all up to you,” she said. “For me, blogging is a great way to connect to other individuals and to keep my ‘creative juices flowing.’”

Stark also believes that people who read blogs need to be able to fact check to make sure the information they read is true. 

“Blogging has definitely increased the amount of ‘citizen journalism’ in American culture, and has also forced people to be more selective with what they choose to read and believe,” she said. 

Pintingolo disagrees. He believes blogs have gained prominence as important sources of news and other information.

“But the reality is that good blogs are rewarded with many readers, and bad blogs are punished [because] no one visits them,” he said. “Americans are beginning to understand that blogs are an efficient and effective way to deliver everything from breaking news to editorials to sports coverage.”