Thomas Frank admits that last semester he was over-involved. A typical day for Frank consisted of working as an RA, taking classes, doing homework, working a second job and working on web design for others’ sites as well as his own. This semester, Frank, a junior Management Information Systems major at Iowa State University, is cutting back on his activities to focus on classes, hang out with friends and, most of all, devote more time to his up-and-coming blog, CollegeInfoGeek.com.
“Generally I would be writing the article part of the time in class and part of the time at my second part-time job,” Frank said. “I’ve really cut down (this semester)…(CollegeInfoGeek)’s really one of the things that’s very important to me...I believe that if you are doing a lot of things at once, even if you’re a really competent person, you’re not working so well at each one because you can’t really focus on it, whereas if you just have one or two activities, you can really just dive in and be the best at them.”
According to Frank, he created CollegeInfoGeek in June 2010 when he was rejected from being a writer for HackCollege.com, another college blog.
“He actually applied for a job with HackCollege,” Shep McAllister, editor-in-chief of HackCollege.com said, “and I didn’t give it to him which I’ve always said was my biggest mistake.”
McAllister says he doesn’t see Frank’s site as a competitor with HackCollege. In fact, he thinks CollegeInfoGeek has helped both of their sites grow.
“One thing he really does well is he comes up with these crazy ideas that no one else I know would ever think to do and then he actually follows through,” McAllister said. “He does a lot of those really long comprehensive posts that we don’t do, but I don’t think that hurts HackCollege; I think if anything it helps HackCollege and I think the things we do help him because we link to him and he links to us.”
While plenty of people devote their procrastination time to Facebook, tumblr, reddit, and Twitter, many people visit Frank’s site monthly; he gathered 18,000 hits in December and has had as high as 30,000 hits in a month. Ryan Nguyen, a senior at UC Santa Barbara and contributing writer for CollegeInfoGeek, especially likes the way that Frank responds to commenters in the comments section.
“A lot of the things that we write we get a decent number of comments on, and (Frank) has been really great at keeping up the comments section and just talking to everybody and comments back meaningful things, not just ‘Thanks for reading,’” Nguyen said. “I think that’s something that’s not really limited to CollegeInfoGeek but I think the conversation that we try to inspire in the comments is what differentiates us from other college blogs.”
Frank says he enjoys blogging because it integrates many different things.
“I’ve learned to be a better writer from it,” Frank said, “I’ve learned to network a lot better, and I’ve learned a lot of technical skills in designing the website’s look and feel and implementing its personality, so I guess my favorite thing is that it’s such a diverse thing to do. You’re not doing the exact same thing all the time.”