University of Southern California

Student Life Blog

Looking for “Likes”


By Isabella Sayyah Friday, August 9, 2013

Last week Molly decided we should spice things up in the RYOT office by having a good friendly competition. The rules were simple:

Though I wasn’t in the office last Thursday or Friday, there was no way I was going to miss out on this. I quickly scoured the web for two interesting stories. My first one was easy. Justin Bieber had gotten hold of a fan’s phone during a concert. Because our demographic consists of a LOT of teenage girls, Justin Bieber stories tend to do well, and this one was both outrageous and had a video to back it up.

The other story I chose was about how a terrorism squad showed up at a family’s home after they had googled “pressure cookers.” I knew this one wouldn’t become as popular as Justin Bieber, but I thought it might be quirky enough to do well.

While the contest was in itself just a fun activity, it also had a purpose. By pitting us against each other, Molly hoped we would find some creative ways to get our stories out that RYOT could use in the future. Usually I don’t do much more than post stories on three basic social networking sites: Twitter, Facebook and Google+. But, with a t-shirt (and bragging rights) at stake, I knew it was time to up my game.

I began posting the Justin Bieber story on JBiebs fan pages on Facebook, hoping that a few of the thousands of people who had liked the pages would click on it. I soon realized that the fans might get a little mad that the story is a little anti-Belieber. I then took the opposite approach and posted it in anti-Justin Bieber groups.

I also posted the stories on a variety of sites, some that I had never even heard of before. I got a good amount of views from a random site for bored people. Guess there are a lot of bored people trolling the Internet.

I obsessively checked our Google Analytics page to see who was in the lead. While it didn’t start out at the top, my Justin Bieber post soon overtook almost every other story. And then, the unthinkable happened.

At RYOT we have a few celebrity supporters, one being Ian Somerhalder, Vampire Diaries star. Occasionally he’ll tweet out a story of ours and we’ll get a lot of traffic as thousands of fan girls rush to read the article. On Saturday, he just so happened to tweet one of the other intern’s stories, a compilation of the five best Vines of the week, pretty much ending the competition.

Dejected I consigned myself to losing. I put in a little effort to get some more pageviews on my story, but I knew I wouldn’t win.

Monday morning came and I was right: Stefan, who had the five Vines story, had won in a landslide. However, Molly decided that since he had sort of an unfair advantage, the runner-up would get a t-shirt, too.

And the runner-up was…drumroll please…me!

Even if I hadn’t come in second, the contest was great. It’s been great spending my summer at a company that is so fun and laidback. I’m definitely going to miss it, although before I go I get to have one last day with the RYOT crew — attending Invisible Children’s Fourth Estate Leadership Summit at UCLA! I’ll let everyone know how it goes in my next blog.

Follow me on Twitter! @isabellasayyah.

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