“Wesleying was a brain fart that developed on instant messenger at like 4 a.m. on some random day in August,” said Holly Wood ’08. The date was August 23, 2006, and that idea, hatched by Wood and friend Xue Sun ’08, has blossomed into a widely read online blog that notifies its readers of various University events and interesting tidbits that relate to the general college experience.
“Wesleying is the byproduct of sleep deprivation, masochism and internet addiction. I think that’s basically how all blogs start,” Wood said.
Wood and Sun are the founders and two main contributors to the site, although there are 12 others who can post on the blog.
“People post at varying rates, some have never made a post, but technically anyone can become a contributor,” Sun said. Students only need to e-mail her and, according to Sun, she will set up an account for them.
Sun said she would like to see contributors who represent more diverse backgrounds, including those from places like DKE and Eclectic.
“I think it could be a useful way to unify our stratified campus and maybe get rid of some misconceptions about all of the societies [and fraternities],” she said.
Some posts are more general, describing various lectures, movies, concerts, auditions, parties and fundraisers, as well as the weekly menu for the Star and Crescent.
Others are more offbeat. Past posts have included a tutorial replete with pictures on how to make Skittles vodka, information about secret societies such as Theta Nu Epsilon and the Mystical Seven, rants about chalking, where to buy a 15-foot stuffed squid, and funny pictures from old University yearbooks.
Sun and Wood have not exerted too much energy on advertising, preferring to publicize the blog through word of mouth and online communities such as Facebook and LiveJournal.
“We’ve talked about advertising, like flyering or hanging a big banner from MoCon, but we’re kind of lazy,” Sun said.
Sun and Wood also set up a separate Facebook account for Wesleying, so that readers now have the option to read updates there. Wesleying’s popularity is evident, demonstrated by its 145 friends on Facebook.
The site’s traffic has been steadily increasing since its creation. It currently averages about 750 unique visitors per day, and around 1,300 hits per day. According to Wood, visitors are identified by a specific IP address, while “hits” are the number of times the website is accessed. These “hits,” however, could be multiple views by the same visitor. The all-time high so far was around 975 visitors in a single day.
“Every time I think we’ve hit a cap on visitors, the next week we get more. I remember when I was excited that we were getting 300 visitors a day, and now we’re getting three times that,” Sun said.
The word about Wesleying has certainly spread across campus.
“I’ve had a couple of otherwise poorly publicized events at which I asked people where they heard about it, and they all said, ‘Well, it was on Wesleying!’” said Marianna Foos ’08, a contributor to the site.
Several readers have made Wesleying part of their daily online routine.
“I really like the fact that it consolidates everything going on [during] the weekend. It makes planning a lot easier,” said Adam Schlesinger ’10, who regularly reads the blog.
Many praise the site for its ability to stay on top of current events at the University through a high frequency and volume of posts.
“I’ve seen a guy giving away drinks by Weshop, and within ten minutes Xue had updated Wesleying with that information,” said Justin LaSelva ’09, who occasionally contributes to the blog.
Readers also applaud Wesleying’s ability to accurately portray student culture.
“There is great sense of eclecticism and freshness that emerges and it gives insight into what real students at Wesleyan are interested in,” said Julie Lam ’09, who also often contributes.
Some students, however, criticize the choices that contributors make, saying that some items are inappropriate or too explicit.
“I saw some people complaining about that video post that showed …a UCLA student being tasered, [but] I was really thankful for being made aware of this,” said Leana Luna ’09.
Sun and Wood say that restraint is not a goal of the blog.
“As far as journalistic integrity goes, I’m pretty sure we don’t have any,” Wood said.
For future plans, Sun and Wood want to maintain the general content of their posts, but are considering changing the format and expanding. This could include possibly paying for a domain name, such as wesleying.com.
In comparison to publications like this one, for instance, Luna said that Wesleying was more laid-back and the Argus should hold itself to a higher standard of integrity and accuracy. Sun agreed that the blog is much different.
“We fulfill very different niches…and y’all can’t say ‘fuck.’” [Ed. note: We just did.]