Odyssey comes to Tech

April 28, 2016


Staff Reporter | jmp073@ latech.edu




According to WordPress, users produce about 58.6 million new posts each month.



Through her own blog posts, Valerie Morgan sought to impact fellow college students by writing for the Odyssey Online, a college-focused website which employs students to write blogs.



“Before I write an article I think, ‘Is this something that makes me feel some strong emotion?’” said Morgan, a sophomore nursing major. “I think choosing a topic I’m most passionate about is the best way to impact others.”



According to the Odyssey Online site, the idea of the Odyssey was created when two Indiana University students realized they were dissatisfied with generic and highly-politicized news.



In June 2014, the Odyssey was launched with the purpose of diversifying the media industry through blogs posted to Facebook. The article “Why Girls Love the Dad Bod” received reactions from the Washington Post and ABC News.



Today, there are more than 700 branches called Odyssey communities largely centered around college campuses, according to the Odyssey Online site.



During the 2016 winter quarter, the Odyssey established a branch on the Louisiana Tech campus.



Madalyn Bell said she began writing for the Odyssey as a way to cultivate creativity.



“I often had these ‘light bulb’ moments where I thought, ‘someone should write about this,’ so I decided I should try it for myself,” said Bell, a freshman business management major. “I try to keep my articles creative and true to me.”



Within the Odyssey communities, Morgan said the writers are expected to write one article per week and share other articles onto their Facebook accounts.



“Everyone our age has some sort of social media account,” Morgan said. “The content I write is something I can relate to or have an opinion on. My target audience is 18 to 30 year olds. Writing on a social media platform is perfect.”



Catherine Burke said after writing for the Tech Talk, the Odyssey Online allows her personality to come out in her writing.



“The Odyssey is more entertainment, so I get to have a more sarcastic or funny tone in my articles with a lot of expressiveness and attitude,” said Burke, a senior journalism major.



Burke’s most recent article is on the subject of abortion and is titled “Why I am Not a Cosmo Girl.” The article includes the subheadline “Because glorified baby killing and sex isn’t cute.”



Tori Ward writes the blog for Experience Ruston at the Ruston-Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau. Ward said blogging should not be the public’s sole outlet for news.



“Everyone I know has a blog and it’s become such a cornerstone for communications and social media,” said Ward, a business administration graduate student. “But in my perspective, it’s not news credible. When I read a blog, I read it with a grain of salt.”



Ward has used her blog for the CVB to promote Ruston in different blog series like “Tori’s Travels.” Ward said blogging should be used for public relations purposes.



“People feel like they need to blog about everything now,” Ward said. “There are valuable things that can be shared through blogs. I got to experience Ruston in a different manner because I set out for ‘Tori’s Travels.’”



Les Guice is the first Tech president to have a blog account. His blog centers around his presidency at Tech and updates readers on news about the university.



Guice said his blog and social media accounts reach different audiences and communicate different messages.



“Some have said that the blog de-mystifies the president’s office and activities,” Guice said. “I believe the blog has made me more approachable to many people.”



According to the Odyssey Online site, the blogs published are to promote and reflect the writers’ diverse perspectives on topics and interests to social networks.



“We have a different message other than ‘news,’” Bell said.


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