Catching Up With The Facebook Famous
Should I try to limit myself to 12 posts a day?

Should I try to limit myself to 12 posts a day? Or will more than 12 posts make me this popular? So many likes!

Social Media Scholar Maia Berlow went into the uncharted territory of discovering the allure behind becoming a Facebook celeb. You know ‘em, you love ‘em, or you love to hate ‘em (but really secretly love them because they make the group so much better).

Every grade has them. Those kids that post incessantly on the admitted students page before everyone gets to school. Everyone knows their names, everyone knows their profile pictures, but does anyone really know those Facebook famous students? I decided to learn more about some of the Columbia Class of 2018 Facebook fames and why they post so darn much. All the students interviewed had been named “Facebook Famous” by multiple sources, and not surprisingly, not one of the seven declined to be interviewed (although one ended up getting out of it).  It could be expected that they would be pretty full of themselves, and the interviews to be very odd, but they all proved to be fascinating and enthusiastic.

All of them posted for the first time in their Facebook group out of the excitement that came from getting into Columbia. “It was like shaking up a Coke bottle and just having it burst out everywhere,” said Alexander Birkel about the anticipation to get into Columbia and then being able to interact with other future Columbia students. Thomas Nielsen had taken a gap year and so by the time the 2018 page came about he was “very zealous and excited to meet everybody.”  Most of our Facebook fames had been admitted early and they were all dying to meet their new classmates and, at the time, Facebook was the easiest way to do that.

They all had different comfort levels with internet communication; Heather Macomber and Nielsen attended online high schools and were pros at communicating via the internet. Others were just excited to get into that “frenzy of ‘oh-my-god-I’m-so-excited-we’re-going-to-be-classmates,’” as Caroline Lee said. The Facebook group provided a place to organize meetups or online hangouts and it became a safe haven of intellectual conversations, and a realization that soon they would be able to escape high school. “It was really interesting getting to talk to people from all over the world and hear their experiences,” noted Will Essilfie. The Facebook group provided a way for people to debate current events or just UChicago vs Columbia (though we’re not sure why anyone even needed to debate that).

continue reading about the people you love to facebook stalk

Chronicles Of Existentialism: NSOP Lives On

“Come, [NSOP bracelet], you too must die. Why moan about it so? / Even Patroclus died, a far, far better man than you.” – Homer, The Iliad

If we had done our Iliad reading when we were actually supposed to, maybe we could have found comfort in the wise words of Homer. Instead, we found this abandoned NSOP bracelet.

It's just part of the decor, really.

Besides this lost bracelet that clearly just realized NSOP is over, we have all escaped from that dreadful wonderful week. Consider it a rite of passage.


LectureHop: Barnard Women Poets

This past Wednesday evening from 7-9, Women Poets at Barnard hosted a public reading where the winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize read her poetry. Possible poet Caroline Lee was in attendance.

Sandra Lim

Sandra Lim

Since 1986, the Barnard Women Poets Prize has been awarded biannually for exceptional books of poetry written by female poets. This year, the prize went to Sandra Lim, a South Korea-born professor at UMass Lowell, for her collection The Wilderness. One part of the prize is a monetary reward and publication by W. W. Norton and Co, and the other is the honor of reading your poetry at a free, public event at Barnard.

While the event was hosted on the Barnard campus and by a Barnard organization, it was open to the public. Columbia students stood in a ring around the room, because by the time they arrived the seats were all taken. Once everybody was comfortable and silent, the introductions began. Of course, there was the obligatory mention of Barnard’s 125th anniversary and the lesser-known  30th anniversary of these public poetry readings. Louise Glück, former poet-laureate of the United States and judge of the 2014 Barnard Women Poets Prize, would be reading her own poetry before Sandra Lim read hers, but first, Barnard tradition dictated that they must be introduced by Barnard poets.

The Barnard poet chosen to introduce Glück had high praise for her, and specifically spoke of Glück’s manipulation of scope in her poetry, which moves from telescopic to microscopic images of the word. When Louise Glück took the podium, her work had been rather thoroughly analyzed and recommended. She spoke of her role in judging the Barnard Women Poets Prize and recommended Sandra Lim’s The Wilderness “with a passionate praise,” saying that “it was one of the highlights of [her] past year.” She read some of her own poetry, and then turned the mic over to the Barnard poet who introduced Sandra Lim by describing the images of thawing and rebirth in The Wilderness. Then, Sandra Lim finally took the podium.

Find out about Sandra Lim’s speech and more after the jump!

RoomHop: We Thought This Was A Sample Dorm
Does the SEAS hat count as decoration?

Does the SEAS hat count as decoration?

Libby Kandel and Christina Clark, aka Bwog’s kangaroos of room-hopping, went to get the story behind the intriguingly bare room of a John Jay resident.

“Did you just get robbed?” would be an appropriate question when you walk into the room of Resident X* on John Jay 13. He’ll shrug his shoulders and say, “I don’t need a lot of stuff…I like my room plain. My future house will look like this; I would not compromise. Even for a woman.”

The barren walls might seem cold and uninviting, but the three combs, hairbrush, and array of hair products should assure you that Resident X occasionally appears in the presence of others. When he does he will be sure to rock one of his Ikea satchels and estimated 15 pairs of grey pants.

One might think Resident X is anti-consumer culture, but really, he just doesn’t like things. One thing he takes particular offense to is the modern blender. “So many things in this world have experienced technological advancement, but the blender is not one them. Like even the most high tech ones at Jamba Juice have to be cleaned with a spoon.” Statements like these and his room may explain why one of his floormates immediately assumed he was a SEAS kid. Another just assumed he was a serial killer.

This may also be because he has no pictures of his family anywhere, but rather a startling amount of cleaning products. His explanation: “You don’t have pictures of your family until you’re like 40…..right?”

Bwog closed the meeting by asking, “If your life depended on decorating your room, what would you put on your walls?” After a moment of reflection: “Blank wallpaper.”

*he requested that his name not be included.

Photographic evidence after the jump.

Bwoglines: Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Apple? Edition
Dear Friends, RIP. -xoxo, the iPhone

Dear Friends, RIP. -xoxo, the iPhone

Editor’s note: Bwog readers, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge that earlier this week, Alexander Pines resigned from his role as Features Editor of Bwog. He will continue in his position as a Senior Editor at The Blue and White, where we wish him the best. — Julia

Remember all those conversations you wanted to have with your friends strictly with emojis? It’s now possible. (Huffington Post)

A new Apple product release, like Columbia students, can’t go on without a good protest. (CBS LA)

Apparently dead celebs can be resurrected to endorse products? Joan, we do miss you. (CNN)

OMG!! Someone dropped an iPhone!! (Chron)

49 Turkish hostages were released by the Islamic State this morning. They used drones, not iPhones. Apparently iPhones can’t do everything; this is news to Bwog. (NY Times)

 Your seventh grade phone via Shutterstock.


Effects Of Razor Scootering Down All 10 Ramps Of Lerner On A Tuesday

Effects Of Razor Scootering Down All 10 Ramps Of Lerner On A Tuesday
By Maia Berlow and Christina Clark


Bwog heard a rumor that Lerner Hall was ranked one of the best buildings for scootering in the country. We couldn’t unearth any US News and World Report rankings, Buzzfeed posts, or College Prowler comments to back up our claims. But no matter! This is a research university! We decided to test it out ourselves.

If Bwog razor scooters down the ramps of Lerner, then Bwog will know it is the best building to scooter in in the world.


  • Deviant students
  • Razor Scooters (or anything with wheels, really)

We picked up some scooters and casually carried them into Lerner. We scoped out the racetrack as we headed to the top, noting areas that might trip us up and people who might yell at us (potentially the person that sits at the mail kiosk station?). And off we went.

Trial 1: We started off slowly from the 4th floor, because we were worried about attracting too much attention and getting stopped before we made it to the bottom. It took about 30 seconds to realize that literally no one cared. A couple girls even cheered us on. We picked up speed, made like a Tom, and cruised.

Trial 2: No experiment is legitimate without multiple trials, so for the sake of the scientific method we decided we had to do a second run. This time we went all the way to the top. As we flew down the levels we heard a few shouts, but they were mostly drowned out by the sound of wind rushing through our ears. As we rounded the last corner we saw a short man in a Columbia suit, power walking towards us. We quickly made our escape through the Broadway exit uncaught and unscathed.

Black Ramps: Smooth sailing. Enjoy the feeling of your hair flowing majestically behind you.

Blueish/Greenish Diamond Ramps: Silver ridges make for a bumpy ride, but the turbulence should not be enough to throw off a skilled rider. The wheels also make loud noises as they hit the ridges so be aware of this if you’re trying to stay incognito. (Note: the hair flow is not quite as majestic as on the black ramps).

Potential Hazards: Professionally clad adults conferencing on floor 5, a package center line close to riot on floor 4, hangry students entering Ferris on floor 2, the front security desk on floor 1, the rugs on short parts of the track.

Reactions from the crowd: some cheering, a thumbs up, some staring, but mostly no one cared.

Fun Score: Guaranteed to liven up anyone’s Tuesday! A+

The Man Behind Partycast
"Yo Where's the Party At?!"

“Yo Where’s the Party At?!”

Bwog’s coverage of things that only freshmen do continues with the story of the Beta brother who built partycast, the most popular partying app at Columbia that died after about a week of sporadic use. A naive Bwog writer who usually avoids any kind of Columbia party went to learn how exactly technology can lead to a better partying experience.

Through a long chain of coincidences, Bwog befriended the Beta brother who built the popular (at least during NSOP) app “Partycast.” And by befriended we mean telling him to his face that the idea was stupid and that no one would actually use it. He decided to try to set the record straight in an anonymous interview.

The first rumor he wants to put to rest is that the app was in any way trying to promote Beta’s parties. He had worked over the summer as a software developer and in his spare time, started coding his own apps. Around June he realized that he had a pretty solid idea for something that might be useful for people’s “partying needs” at Columbia. He devoted more time to working on what would come to be called “Partycast”. He took it upon himself to run the marketing campaign for his app–posting flyers up in freshmen dorms and waiting for people to start downloading the app from Google Play. Within the week of NSOP, the creator claims that nearly 300 people signed up, equivalent to “almost all of Carman.”

He never planned the app for longevity, justifying the rapid decline in usage after NSOP by saying that that “the scope of this was mainly for NSOP, and the purpose was to have big parties with random people.” He also adds that “I’d interview some freshmen who’d come to the beta house and they’d say, “I don’t know it’s a little sketchy”.

Read more about partycast and its sequel after the jump

JJ’s Place Closed To Barnard?

Bwog has been tipped several rumors that Barnard’s administration and dining services prohibit BC students from eating at JJ’s Place. Apparently, the BC ’17 and ’18 Facebook pages are in uproar about this policy, which has been in effect since 2011, and some students are saying that they currently can’t get into JJ’s after 8 pm. The change is rumored to have gone into affect today as some students were able to eat at JJ’s last night. No notice was publicly given to Barnard students about the change, and many students have not found out about the revoked access until trying to swipe in at JJ’s. However, Barnard students supposedly can still eat at John Jay and Ferris. So far, the Barnard administration has not responded to questions or concerns.

Update 5:07 pm: Bwog received the following message from Director of Marketing and Communications Kristina Hernandez on behalf of Columbia dining:

On behalf of Columbia Dining, this provides clarification regarding the Columbia-Barnard exchange at JJ’s Place.

There has been no change in policy. The Barnard-Columbia exchange includes John Jay and Ferris Booth Commons. It does not include JJ’s Place. Columbia Dining mistakenly allowed Barnard meal plan holders to swipe in to JJ’s Place the first few weeks of classes this year. Once we became aware of the mistake today, we corrected it. To be clear, JJ’s Place was never part of the exchange program.

Update 6:35 pm: In response to questions about whether this policy was different in previous years, Kristina Hernandez added:

If Barnard students were allowed to swipe in at JJ’s last year, it was an error on Columbia Dining’s part. In these cases, neither Barnard Dining nor Barnard students were charged.

An odd statement considering several Bwog staffers can remember Barnardians being able to swipe into JJ’s for at least two years without a problem.

Bwog will continue to update you on this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad dining situation as events unfold.

The only time this much all-caps is appropriate.

The only time this much all-caps is appropriate.

We Discovered Obama’s Columbian Apartment

In the onslaught of discovering the perfect abode, one apartment has the perfect sales pitch: a path to the White House. For $2,500 it could be yours, presidency and all (maybe). And on 142 West 109th Street, it’s only a short walk from campus!

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 12.48.46 PM“Yes president OBAMA lived in this unit while he attended Columbia university so be part of history”

Overseen: McBain Renovations?

In addition to renovations on floors 7 and 8, McBain’s latest changes also include a lofty through breeze from a gaping hole in the ceiling of the floor 2 men’s shower. Keep it classy, McBain.

It's just part of the decor, really.

It’s just part of the decor, really.

Bwoglines: Food, Of Food, And About Food Edition
Delicious, succulent, invigorating: greasy food.

Delicious, succulent, invigorating: greasy food.

Turns out, crustless sandwiches will destroy America. The new endemic closes in on all fronts, as crustless sandwiches team up with almond milk to destroy the sanctity of our youth. (The Concourse)

Forget independence, how will the Scottish referendum affect food prices? (Vice)

Whole Foods prides itself on being organic and exclusive, having even the most obscure options for any buyer…and now they apparently are selling rabbit. Rabbit. (

Oh yes. Prepare for the Nutella restaurant. Breakfast pizza with Nutella, pizza balls with Nutella, and (presumably) Nutella on Nutella. (Global News)

Food via Shutterstock

AskBwog: Spec-cest
Bwog luvs you

Bwog luvs you

Dear Bwog,

I am a freshman, so I don’t know much about the rules of journalism at Columbia. Here is my question—am I allowed to be part of both Bwog and Spec?



Dear Bwog-curious,

We love that you’re interested in experimenting with Bwog, and we don’t care what other publications you’ve written for in the past! That’s your business, baby. However, we do have to tell you that if you’re currently working for another publication, such as Spec, it might be hard to devote your love to us, too.

You are, of course, welcome to attend our meetings regardless of who else you’re seeing at the moment. Our meetings and our hearts are open, though we ask that you keep what happens between us confidential. It just makes us feel dirty when you talk about all the fun things you and Spec do together, and we know they feel the same way.

If you’re interested in writing us an article, or joining our staff, you should talk to our board and the board of the other publication you work for. Holding prominent positions in both Spec and Bwog could make it difficult for you to write in an unbiased manner. As one Spec writer has been heard to say, “I work for Spec. I can’t write for Bwog. Do you realize what a scandal that would be?” We don’t mind a good scandal now and again, but we must insist that the other publications you work for also consent to an open relationship.



Mine Heart via Shutterstock

Overseen: A Deer That, Like Our Sense Of Wonder, Definitely Exists
Portrait of a Young Deer

Look! It’s labeled!

Tuesday night we were tipped this absolutely discernible photo of a deer.

At first, we could not see the deer.

But then, we mused, carelessly scanning the pixilation, if there were a deer, whose first thought would be to take a quality photo?

We remembered a morning long ago from our childhood in Vermont, when we snuck out of the house with our older sister to investigate a sound in the woods. Our cotton pajamas doing nothing to hold back the early fall chill, we were hunting a sasquatch or the ghost of John Cooper from the mill, but instead found ourselves face to face with the largest buck we’d ever seen. The golden green first light of dawn behind it, it was cast in silhouette, but we could just make out its eyes, enormous and black and intolerably alien and incomprehensibly familiar. We realized in that moment how small we were and how big the world actually was, how flimsy our protection from a great and terrible nature, and we understood that the only appropriate response to this was awe.

And thinking back, we wondered suddenly when the world had last felt this way. We considered life now, the problem sets, the case studies, the info sessions and interviews. We thought about how Don Quixote had become a chore and how Plato was just another assignment. We began to worry that we would never again feel astonishment, that we would forget we ever had. In a blind panic we recognized that our lives were fast becoming a living death, if they weren’t already.

And then we saw the deer! It was there all along! It has to have been! Isn’t that cool? And in Riverside Park. Amazing!

LectureHop: An Evening With Peter Thiel
More logos than a NASCAR driver

Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel is a co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook. Yesterday night, he came to campus to promote his new book, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build The Future. Armchair Analyst Kevin Chen went to see what it was all about.

As an audience consisting mostly of well-dressed B-school students filed in, songs from the Mulan soundtrack played over the speakers. The line to get into the event stretched across 114th Street and past Butler. But if you thought that was long, the list of event co-hosts was even longer: Columbia Organization for Rising Entrepreneurs, The Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School, and Columbia University Entrepreneurship.

After promising Vincent Ponzo, Director of the Lang Center, that we’d give Thiel a “warm New York City welcome” (if such a thing even exists), we finally got to see the man himself.

According to Thiel, Zero to One is about the unique moments that happen when someone creates a new product for the first time: maybe the first airplane, or the first iPhone. Do these events have anything in common with each other that can be applied again and again? Thiel says yes—and that’s the question the book tries to answer.

“We’re living in a world where courage is in even shorter supply than genius,” Thiel likes to say, meaning that people are more afraid to deviate from what they’ve been taught, keeping them from pursuing new ideas they come up with. The book focuses on what Thiel calls “contrarian answers”—challenges to conventional wisdom. Most people believe this, but that’s not the truth. Most people believe capitalism is synonymous with competition, but Thiel claims they are opposites. Google is a capitalist (making a lot of money) because it has no competition. There’s a ton of competition for NYC restaurants so none of them are making that much money. “The people who have monopolies don’t talk about them”—Google defines itself as a technology company competing in many areas against the likes of Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft, to draw attention away from its monopoly in search.

People seek competition because there’s a sense of safety in crowds. Thiel takes this opportunity to talk about his background. He started out as your stereotypical Ivy Leaguer: after graduating from Stanford (shush, it’s the Ivy League of the west coast), he went to law school and worked at a NYC law firm. Through a “quarter-life crisis,” he realized that he hated how his coworkers always tried to one-up each other. Thiel moved to California and started PayPal during the tech boom of the late 1990s.

Thiel wraps up his prepared statement by touching on the trade-off between globalization and technological innovation. In the last 40 years, the world has been focused on copying and globalizing at the expense of innovation—for instance, we aren’t seeing many solutions to the energy and transportation problems. It’s even reflected in our language: the developing world is supposed to copy the developed. “When we say we live in the developed world, we say that there will be nothing new. We should be asking how we can develop the developed world.”

Questions for Thiel: monopolies, SpaceX, and Star Trek, coming up after the jump.

For The Aspiring Raskolnikov: Nussbaum “Lounge Rooms”
Maybe if they decorate...

Maybe if they decorate…

After receiving not one but two ominous mysterious tips about so-called “lounge rooms” in Nussbaum,

“This summer they made all the Nussbaum floor lounges into rooms. The problem is that the rooms have windows the width of a golf ball. I can barely breath, let alone sleep. Still paying 9K a year to live here. HELP”

“I am livng (sic) in one of the lounges in nussbaum that they made into bedrooms. The room is so poorly ventilated that I have to sleep with my door open or else I get coughing fits from the chemicals used to finish to floor. I am still paying $9,000 a year. This is disgusting.”

We took it upon ourselves to knock on doors in a desperate attempt to blow off CC reading conduct some serious, hard-hitting investigative journalism.

What did our investigative team discover? Did they make it out alive? Find out, after the jump.