‘SoundslikeNorwich’ goes viral

This semester Norwich University has reached the World Wide Web in a whole new way, thanks to an anonymous student who posts on Tumblr, the world’s largest blogging platform.

When my professor said that the final should be easy if you payed attention in lecture, I was like: You sit on a throne of lies.“John Doe,” the creator of the NU Tumblr site, agreed to do an interview online through his Tumblr page so that his identity was not revealed. Doe started the Tumblr page called “SoundslikeNorwich” because he felt Norwich needed another way to have its story heard online besides “Overheard at Norwich,” a Facebook page where students post funny things they have heard other students saying.

Doe has really gotten people interested in the site in a very short amount of time. He started the blog by himself and it has continued to grow. Since it began on Oct. 14, it’s received over 200,000 views as of Dec. 10 One visit to http://soundslikenorwich.tumblr.com/keeps the viewers, many of which are Norwich students, coming back.

David Karp founded Tumblr in order to give bloggers a simple and clean way to post anything they would like. Bloggers can post anything they find inspiring or worth sharing, whether it’s a picture, song, quote, opinion, or video clip.

“‘SoundslikeNorwich’ is probably one of the best things that has happened this year,” said Maggie Walsh, 20, a junior communications major from North Plainfield, N.J. “It gives me something to look forward to at the end of the day when I’m having a bad day.”

“I got the idea to start ‘SoundslikeNorwich’ because of a few other well-known Tumblr’s like #whatshouldwecallme, which posts ideas or events and illustrate them with GIFS, which are animated pictures or short video clips,” said Doe. “I found out the state school where I am from had a Tumblr that was similar to the idea that I had, which further motivated me to make this.”

Doe is able to come up with nearly 10 posts every day that can relate to the variety of people that make up the Norwich community, such as students, alumni, faculty, and staff. However, most of his posts are about the corps lifestyle, as he has admitted to being a member of the Corps of Cadets himself.

“It’s unusual that just one person can produce such a large quantity of posts,” said Spencer Williams, 22, a senior communications major from Harvard, Mass. “To me it reminds me of Shakespeare. People look back on his plays and think how did one man do all of this, so I think to myself how is one man doing all of these posts and I think it’s great.”

“My ideas come from just the daily complaints and hilarious moments I experience, hear from my friends, or witness,” Doe explained.

Doe has had some difficulty being able to come up with ideas for all of the groups evenly. “My own challenge that I’ve faced is when I post things for civilians because I am not one, but I do have a number of civilian friends so I feel that I still have accurately targeted that group a bit.”

Doe has a lot of great ideas, which is why he is able to post so many every day. His only problem is still trying to stay anonymous to his friends. Doe will hear something funny and get ideas from his friends, but he will have to wait days before he can post about it, otherwise his friends will figure him out.

“I like to stay anonymous because it allows me to be completely free in what I post,” Doe said. He does not have to worry about people confronting him about his posts or what he should post next.

His anonymity allows him “to be just another member of the NU community,” said Doe. “I can walk around and listen and observe the day-to-day life: the good and the bad, the hidden and shown sides of campus life.”

“It’s a way to find commonalities with each other and laugh at our school,” said Shantal Bouthillette, 21, a senior nursing major from Windham, Maine. “It provides comic relief.”

Although he currently is an anonymous comic, Doe is considering the time when he will reveal himself to the NU community. “I will do it when the time is right,” said Doe. “It will be before I graduate. When I do reveal myself, I will post a video, from the first night that I started Tumblr, explaining who I am and why I started the site for the school.”

Doe finds his GIFS, the animated pictures or video clips from movies and shows, from other Tumblr sites and also creates his own. He will often find so many that he saves the ones he enjoys for a later date when he is ready to use them.

“After I get a GIF, I will look at it and see what act or reaction is happening in it that I can relate to Norwich. It can be difficult sometimes, but that is what makes blogging for ‘SoundslikeNorwich’ fun,” Doe said.

His hard work pays off with all of the positive feedback he has been receiving. He has fortunately never heard any negativity for the site except for the occasional misspelled word that he can change immediately and discretely.

“I can walk into class and someone will be on ‘SoundslikeNorwich’ on their laptop in class or checking it on their phone, which I think is hilarious,” he said. “I’ll just smile to myself and go on about my day.”

“I’ll see people posting it on each others walls on Facebook all of the time saying how true each blog is,” said Evan Carey, 22, a senior communications major from Kingston, Mass. “People love the site because of how accurate it is.”

Doe’s ability to write about relatable topics has brought considerable popularity to the site. “Not going to lie, it feels good that I have complete strangers following my blog for the school,” said Doe, “I feel like a ghost celebrity.”

SoundslikeNorwich mystery-man

The “SoundslikeNorwich” mystery-man is keeping his identity hidden.
Photo: Briana Buckles

People from all over campus have heard about the site. Since a lot of students are friends with professors on Facebook, the administration is able to enjoy it as well.

“I once heard a professor quoting one post that she saw and she loved it,” Doe said, “So I am glad that faculty can also appreciate this blog. I would just love for more alumni to know about it.”

“It’s amazing how fresh his ideas are,” said Zachary Milesky, 21, a senior communications major from Brewster, Mass. “How is he able to come up with so many ideas? I wonder if he will be able to keep it up.”

Doe is able to set aside some time each day to post on his blog, but the site is not his life. He loves to make people laugh and cannot wait to continue the tradition of this site even after he reveals himself.

“I will put it like this, when I do reveal who I am, that will be my last post,” he said, “but that will not be the last post on SoundslikeNorwich. The site will live on for as long as the community shows interest in it.”

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