I Need You – Yes, You

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It seems I’ve become a master of absentee blogging – and by that, I just mean that I’m really good at neglecting things. Sorry. I was busy, and now I’m lazy and self-conscious. But disregard that, because it isn’t why I’m writing this post.
I’m writing this post because of school. I’m currently in a class where I have to create my own journalistic startup company (for any of you in Grady, it’s called Entreprenurial Journalism with Greenman, and I give it as many thumbs up emojis as my phone could fit into a text message or tweet or something), and I’ve got a good idea. A good one. And I’m currently in the phase of my product where I’m developing my audience (and I don’t think linearly, so I’m also thinking about potential advertisers and establishments I would feature on my site) and seeing if anybody would actually use my site.

My idea is something I like to call Townie Travels.

  • Townie Travels is going to be an Athens travel site that is specific in that it will cover all of the neighborhoods here (unless I decide to skimp out on Watkinsville and Bogart, I need input on that).
  • Why should you care or show any interest? Because Athens isn’t just UGA or downtown – it’s a whole city. There are over 116,000 people here, and a lot of those people aren’t students. There are things happening besides shows or little craft fairs downtown (not that those aren’t great and won’t be covered). However, if those things aren’t going on in your neighborhood, you probably don’t know about them. Look at Flagpole – they post tons of event previews every week, but you’re primarily reading about things going on downtown.
  • This is where Townie Travels would come in. Athens is more than one neighborhood, and people should be able to experience that.

I should also go ahead and present the demographics of my audience (I even have a nice, crude diagram):

  • Townie Travels would primarily aim towards people who live here and aren’t enrolled in university. This crowd would be in the 30s-40s age bracket and would most likely have families and pets. These people also likely have jobs. What else are these people like? Well, maybe they’re stressed. Maybe they want to have a nice weekend, but can’t afford or mentally handle the drive to Atlanta or the mountains. They don’t want to travel far – they also want their kids to have a good time (and according to my research thus far, there are a lot of parents here who aren’t aware of activities or programs that kids could participate in), and maybe they want to bring their dog along, because that dog is crying and these people have hearts (Did you know there are bars here that allow dogs? Well, now you do.)
  • The secondary aim is going to be most of the Athenians who see this post: transient Athenians. They’re in college, they just graduated and want to stay here, or they just moved here. They want to explore their new city, and wouldn’t it be great for them to know that there’s more to Athens than college culture (which is great, but, you know, there’s more!). Or, perhaps in their short or nascent time here, they need to entertain members of my third group:
  • Visitors – parents, sisters, cousins, brothers, friends, colleagues, pen pals, grandparents, high school classmates, in-laws – are my final target audience. How does this apply to you? Well, you’ll probably have a visitor during your time here. What if your grandparents are visiting and you want to take them to lunch? Townie Travels could recommend a restaurant that’s not too far away for you. Less distance, less hassle.
  • Below is my lovely diagram:

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Or maybe you’re wondering about how I’d make money. Well, I’ve thought about that too. I’d aim for advertisements for local businesses (oh yeah – Athens is also unique in that its passion for local business is really strong, and you can bet I’ll feature them on my site), and have a donate button somewhere for anyone who’s feeling generous. But I also have some other ideas, like raffles and wristbands. Users could pay a dollar for a drawing for something like a ticket to a local concert or gift card to a local shop. Or they could buy a wristband for a little restaurant tour or bar crawl itinerary I’d set up, and customers with a wristband would get a discount.

As you can see, I’ve thought about this startup a lot. So, why on earth would project this be problematic?
My mind is exploding with ideas all the time. My thoughts aren’t really linear or fluid unless I’ve had a lot of iced coffee. Seriously, right now I’m working on three different paragraphs at the same time. So I miss things, or lots of my ideas don’t fully develop.
This is where I need you.
I need you to tell me what you think. Yeah, it would be awesome if you like my idea, but if something is bothering you, I want to know about it. Criticize me! Tell me my thought process is scribbly! Tell me how I could improve! Give me suggestions! This startup isn’t about me, it’s about Athens, and there’s a chance it’s about you.

How I Found My Pride After Reading Amber Estes’ Article

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If you have a Facebook account and live in the South, chances are that you’ve read or at least know about an opinion piece written by a University of Georgia student that offends almost everybody who reads it.
Its title? “How to find that perfect husband in college.”

Estes offers sage wisdom on snagging a relationship with a future dynamo such as frequenting the area of campus that holds the law and business schools, taking lots of Instagrams, and dressing “like you’re not trying too hard.”

I, like most of those who read the article, find this advice extremely offensive. And I think we have every right to feel this way. I’d like to think that most of us came to UGA so we could enrich our minds and get a good career. Sure, many of us probably invoke a fair amount of damage to our brains through social alcohol abuse, but most of us are in college for intellectual reasons.

Naturally, Amber’s article has generated a slew of backlash. Occasionally, a comment mocking the offended for taking a “joke” so seriously will surface.

I get that the article was supposed to be satirical. I think most of us do. The problem is that the sarcasm failed, and once you strip Amber’s attempt at humor, all you get is a piece that degrades women our age.
And do you know what that does? It makes UGA look really bad.
UGA doesn’t have the greatest reputation. The students are typecasted as raucous Bulldog fans, belligerent drunks, and members of Greek institutions. In 2010, the Princeton Review crowned us the number one party school in the nation. As a result, thousands flock to Athens each year to include themselves in the wild parties and downtown bar scene they hear about. Trust me, it’s a little overrated.

I’ve seen people who go to other schools use the article as an excuse to mock UGA.

Like with any school, there is so much more to UGA than the Greek community and partying. Some of the most fascinating people I’ve been exposed to are UGA students. I’ve met incredible actors, singers, writers, and artists, brilliant mathemeticians and linguists, and several girls in sororities who stand apart from the “sorostitute” label – one of these girls inspires me incredibly. I might not walk around campus wearing Nike shorts and a sorority t-shirt, but I am going to take The Beach Boys’ advice and stay true to my school.

So why didn’t you, Amber?