Today marks the first anniversary of the Bowdoin Daily Sun. The concept for the BDS arose out of conversations I had with alumni about how we communicate what is going on at Bowdoin and how we think about the world. The BDS was conceived to educate folks about what is happening on our campus, to connect people to stories and media that we think are interesting, and to entertain. As we look back over the year, this effort seems to be working.
Some statistics: in the past year year we have had 471,408 visits to the BDS site from 109,135 unique visitors. Think about these numbers in the context of the size of Bowdoin (we have about 18,000 living alumni)—clearly, the BDS has attracted attention from our alumni, but also from parents, students, friends of the College, and people who have been alerted to the site by others.
Most of our readers are in the U.S., but not all. We have followers in predictable places like France, the U.K., and a whole lot in Canada (please spare us the hockey jokes), but BDS readers also show up in Hong Kong, India, Japan, and even Tunisia, Turkey, and Vietnam. We have nearly 2,700 subscribers who receive a daily e-mail listing that day’s BDS contents (signing up is free and easy, for those who haven’t already done so), and we also have a separate Bowdoin Daily Sun Facebook page that is “liked” by 967 people and counting.
…we are told that the BDS is appreciated because we post material that is substantive (mostly) and that is not necessarily what people would typically read in their daily routines.
A column by former Maine Governor Angus King tops the list as the year’s most popular post, followed by the photo albums we put up about Bowdoin. Tim Foster’s letter earlier in the year about alcohol and Scott Meiklejohn’s post about early decision were also very well read. And my columns also seem to draw a lot of attention, so I will keep writing. Overall, however, we are told that the BDS is appreciated because we post material that is substantive (mostly) and that is not necessarily what people would typically read in their daily routines.
The BDS has also been noticed in the college and university world. We have received a number of calls from other schools inquiring about the concept, and alumni tell me that other schools are paying attention. I haven’t yet received the call from AOL or other media companies offering to package us with The Huffington Post for a few hundred million dollars, but you never know!
It’s still too early to determine whether the BDS is a success, but the responses from this inaugural year are encouraging. I am always surprised when I get stopped in the street in Brunswick or Boston or New York City by someone I know who mentions something I have written in the BDS. The Bowdoin message is getting out there.
I haven’t yet received the call from AOL or other media companies offering to package us with The Huffington Post for a few hundred million dollars, but you never know!
Of course, this effort is a lot of work. We are fortunate to have a fantastic staff at Bowdoin, and the BDS is entirely created and produced by our folks on campus. There are many people to recognize, including our generous columnists, but the work of Scott Hood and Rob Kerr deserve special mention. Rob built the original template for the site, while Scott is responsible for the content of the BDS. Scott and his staff do a fantastic job at what must seem at times like Groundhog Day—writing stories, shooting videos, taking pictures, and surfing the media and the Web for interesting articles suitable for the BDS.
So, we are celebrating the first anniversary of the Bowdoin Daily Sun. I’m certain we will continue to have growing pains and will work to continue to evolve the site in form, function, and content. We do look forward to your continuing participation with the BDS and welcome constructive suggestions for the future.
In the coming weeks, I will continue to offer my thoughts on subjects interesting to me or of importance to the College, but I want to hear your ideas too. If there is a subject you’d like me to address, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org