Obreahny O’Brien is giving Internet users something to talk about. Her Web site, CollegeWit.com, receives approximately 1,500 unique visitors per day and is launching a spin-off site which will give business news in video form. O’Brien, a senior accounting major at St. John’s, posts a variety of news and opinion that exercises the First Amendment to the fullest extent and fulfills its name.
Launched in spring 2005, CollegeWit.com entered its home as part of the information super highway. College Wit, whose slogan is “because we’re just smarter than you,” is a rebellion to being polite and posts news and videos that the staff thinks the general public will find interesting.
Humor and truth are not mutually exclusive,” O’Brien said. “College Wit is a state of mind… it’s not holding back.”College Wit may appear to be a ranting blog because of its lack of censorship, but it is actually relevant news that grabs attention (but at the same time, someone can poke fun at the subject). A great part of CollegeWit.com is that anyone, regardless of age or education, can write for O’Brien’s Web site.”A friend of mine works at a hotel. Her co-workers (who are truck drivers) have viewed the site and think it’s hilarious,” O’Brien said. “Wit, or being smart, doesn’t define a GPA or a demographic.”
When asked about the concept of College Wit’s mission and uniqueness, O’Brien said, “I want to read something insightful where I can go out into the world and [people can] say, ‘she’s informed.’ At the same time, I don’t want to go through the hassle of reading a bunch of convoluted words to get to it.”Another aspect of the site is the idea of multiple analyses of one news story through the eyes of others. Instead of straight news regarding a certain matter, more than one person is given the opportunity to make comments and provide their input to the situation.
“Through discourse, you reach the truth,” she said. “I like to put two people with different perspectives against each other.”As College Wit gains popularity with new and frequent visitors, O’Brien clarified that she never did any sort of advertising for it. “I put up the Facebook group about the site, but that’s pretty much it.”
“Friends told their friends and now we have Harvard [students] submitting things to the site. [But] I would like to give the opportunity of exposure to my own school,” she said.College Wit’s creator points out that developing a Web site with liberal content does have its downside; but scrutiny or criticism can only benefit those involved.
“When you do an endeavor like this, you can’t please everyone,” O’Brien explains. “I am open to suggestion, largely because I was on the mock trial team. And one thing they teach you is that you have to not only lead… but you also have to know how to be led.”
“So largely, I am writing for the people as well as myself… I’m writing because I want people to absorb and appreciate it, so I listen to [what people have to say],” she said.
The next venture for the College Wit creator is bustberry.com, an all-video version of CollegeWit.com, which is set to launch this week. Designed to be quick and as appealing as reading news, bustberry.com is situated to push the envelope O’Brien began unfolding last year.
O’Brien points out that creativity is an outlet for anyone and encourages others, from all walks of life, to write for CollegeWit.com.
“College Wit is not about writing something brilliant, it’s what you think… but it can’t be a rant,” she said. “It’s [sort of] a selfless type of writing. You have to write thinking, ‘if I was reading this, is this something I want to read? Is it quick and to the point?'”
O’Brien adds, “You can’t expect people to hand you things. If you want to be discovered as a writer, then write!”