December 18, 2014

Students make Webster ‘Reddit’ Webpage

Three students created a page on the website Reddit last week for Webster University. Freshman religious studies major Julie Bonk, sophomore media communications major Sierra Myers and freshman film production major Drew Lang created the webpage “/r/ Gorlok” to build a place for people at Webster to interact outside of campus.
“It’s exciting to see students embracing these technologies as a means to communicate with each other,” Director of Digital Marketing and Communications Patrick Powers said.

GRAPHIC BY VICTORIA COURTNEY / THE JOURNAL

Reddit, said Bonk, is a “customizable newspaper,” where each themed page, or subreddit, contains photos, articles or user-generated content. The users subscribed to each subreddit can either upvote or downvote the post — similar to “liking” on Facebook.
Each post on the subreddit is ranked by the highest score, and the most popular posts throughout the website are posted to the main page.
Bonk first got the idea to create a Webster-related Reddit page two months ago when she noticed several people on her floor in Maria Hall using Reddit. She, Myers and Lang finally came together to create the page.
“It’s a good way to communicate things that are going on around campus,” Bonk said.
In the week it’s been active, the /r/Gorlok subreddit has only gained seven followers. The creators hope the page will soon take off and become a place for Webster students to post content and have discussions. Lang said eventually the page could become home to original music, short films and literature created by students.

“I feel like there isn’t really a place for Webster students to interact outside of campus,” Myers said. “I think it would be really cool to see the happenings in the lives of students, not just in academics.”
People using the /r/Gorlok subreddit can post anything they want. So far, Bonk, Myers and Lang have posted things like the history of the Gorlok, and things unrelated to Webster like videos and memes.
“You don’t want to take it too seriously, that’s the thing,” Lang said. “You don’t want to take a subreddit so seriously because then you’ll just look … like a (jerk).”
The /r/Gorlok subreddit is not restricted to students. Bonk hopes that the page will grow to include staff and faculty announcements in addition to student news.

“I think if Webster pays attention to it and it goes off like we want it to, there will be a lot of feedback and commentary on student life,” Bonk said. “Maybe a faculty experience with the school and room for improvement would become known to the administration.”
In addition to posting entertainment-type posts, different subreddits sometimes hold fundraisers to raise money for charities. One subreddit recently raised more than $150,000 for Doctors Without

Borders. Bonk said the /r/Gorlok subreddit can also help Webster appeal to high school students considering attendance.
“Any effort to build community can be worth it,” Powers said. “Whether it be on Reddit, Facebook or Twitter, community building is a good thing. But communities don’t happen overnight. They take time and effort.”
Bonk, Myers and Lang hope the /r/Gorlok page expands and  helps to build bonds between people at Webster, students and staff alike.
“Reddit is for everyone,” Bonk said. “I’m not just on it — my dad’s on it and one of my brothers is on it … Reddit offers so many different things.”

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