Everyday as you walk through campus, you pass by hundreds of students. What you may not know about any of them is the passion they have for a specific topic or activity; so many students have an area of interest or subject matter that they are always thinking about or getting themselves involved in. For some it’s fashion or finance, for others it may be advocating for world peace or climate change issues. Fortunately, today’s technology allows these students to publicize their passion and help educate others on the topic. On Tulane’s campus, one of the most popular ways to do this is through a blog.
Student bloggers have become very prevalent in today’s society. While many students write for smaller audiences, there are tons of students who have thousands, even millions, of subscribers. Most of these students talk about college life firsthand, giving readers a clear idea of what it’s like to be a college student. Another group of student bloggers have a niche audience and focus on a specific topic.
Sophie Cohen is a senior who started her blog “Simply Soco” as a supplement to her Instagram account @stylewithsoco. Tamar Arenson, another senior at Tulane, started her blog “Traveling With Tam” when she began her gap year in Israel.
1. What is your blog about and how did you come up with the idea? Do you focus on one main topic?
Sophie: My blog is mainly focused on fashion but has also evolved into other lifestyle topics such as personal growth/confidence and dealing with the emotions that go along with college. I made my Instagram account @stylewithsoco, where I posted a picture of my outfit each day, including where the items were from and why I chose to put them together. I started to gain more of a following at my high school and realized that people actually wanted my opinion and insight on how to put together outfits, where to shop, what items were on trend, etc. I took the Instagram account and created a website togo along with it. I started with a few initial articles about fashion. Then, I wrote about fitness, food, and also more personal, emotional articles. Once I got to college, I used writing as an outlet to help me express all of the emotions that I was feeling that went along with the huge changes happening in my life. Today, I like to focus on these kinds of articles as well as fashion articles. I also like to write about how fashion helped give me a voice and how fashion is more than just skin deep and how we can use it in more impactful ways. Recently, I’ve loved writing about prevalent issues in the industry such as the concept of sustainability.
Tamar: I started my blog when I began my gap year in Israel. In the beginning, it was mainly about the gap year: what I was doing and what I was experiencing. Then, violence in Israel began to increase and terror attacks began all around me, so it was away to share what we were experiencing. I continued it after my gap year with various travels I’ve had, from community service trips to family vacations abroad. Each time they’re less about what we actually do and more about what I learned.
2. Who is your audience? Do you think your blog caters towards mostly students?
Sophie: I would say that my audience is mainly girls ranging from the ages of middle school to post-college adults. At first look, I think my articles directly cater toward students because a lot of them are about specific experiences that people our age at college campuses go through, but I have also found that adults can relate to these same emotions and can relate the experiences I discuss to some of the experiences they have had with their own kids.
Tamar: I honestly think my audience is adults. Specifically, friends of my parents and parents of my friends. I wasn’t really sure who my intended audience was and I still don’t know. I guess whoever finds it interesting or meaningful!
3. What made you want to use a blog instead of other outlets?
Sophie: I really wanted to start a blog along with [the Instagram account] because I love to write and I felt that not everything that I wanted to be apart of “Style With Soco” could fit into an Instagram account. I don’t think that my Instagram would be what it is without the articles that explain my sense of style, where my passions came from, and also additional experiences that make me who I am. I love having a platform where I get to express my feelings not just in pictures, but in words too!
Tamar: I liked the idea of a blog because it felt really personal.It felt like an authentic way to share my experiences with a broader community outside the world of social media posts and updates.
4. Why do you blog? What makes you want to share your knowledge and experience with other people?
Sophie: I blog because I love sharing my experiences with other people in hopes that it is information that is useful to and can help them. It was definitely scary to put myself out there, especially at a time as vulnerable as high school. But after having my blog for a few years, I have realized more often than not if you have something important to say people want to and LOVE to hear it. I hope that through my sharing of my outfits and life experiences, young girls can have the confidence to be proud of who they are as individuals and feel comfortable expressing themselves in any way shape or form. I also think a lot of the articles I write about my college experiences are very relatable. I want everyone to know that if they are having a rough freshman year or having trouble dealing with the emotions of senior year coming to an end, that they are not alone and that all of the things they are feeling are completely normal. I feel that at this stage of my life, I have been so lucky to gain wisdom on different aspects of life extending way beyond fashion and I hope that by sharing some of them, maybe I can make a difference in people’s lives, or at least bring a smile to their face when seeing another one of my pink outfits 🙂 I think my blog has also helped me to find myself and find what I am truly passionate about. If you are passionate about something, I encourage you to share it. Having an outlet to express your passions helps you to truly embrace them and reach your full potential!
Tamar: I originally started my blog because there were a lot of misconceptions about the program I was going on and I wanted people to know it’s true value. Then it became a way for me to process my experiences; like a journal would. After the terror attacks post I received a lot of feedback about how it had put into words a lot of what my peers were feeling and gave insight to people back home who didn’t know what was going on. The piece eventually got published in my local newspaper. I decided to maintain the blog afterwards because I had had these incredibly empowering and impactful experiences all around the world. I got to learn about reconciliation in post genocide Rwanda, women’s education in Malawi and more. I guess I hoped, or hope that by expressing these experiences, emotions etc I can inspire others or give a new perspective.
Cover Photo: Sophie reviewing her blog, photo by Rachel Wine