If you haven’t heard of CollegeHumor by now, that rock of yours must be getting quite comfy. In our continuing segment of “The Greatest Sites,” we were able to hook up an interview with Streeter Seidell from www.collegehumor.com.
Mustang Daily: Would you mind telling us a little about yourself and how you became involved with CollegeHumor?
Streeter Seidell: Yeah, I’m the front page editor for College Humor which means I take care of all the updates on the main page and I choose which Web sites to hot link among other little things here. I become involved with College Humor writing columns for them when I was a junior in college and that led to a book-they (College Humor) asked me and a couple of other guys to write it-and the book just led to a permanent job back in ’05.
MD: With a variety of different sections offering pictures, videos, and written features, would you describe College Humor as a “viral media” Web Site? If so, what sets you apart from other viral media sites such as eBaum’s World or Something Awful?
SS: I guess at first glance CollegeHumor looks like any other “viral video” and funny picture/funny article Web site but the difference is that it (CollegeHumor) is all college related-everything is geared towards college kids. And probably 95 percent of the content is coming from fellow students. It’s not coming from some marketing company out of San Francisco or anything.
MD: So a lot of the content is sent in by college students, but do you have some full time staffers who contribute to content as well?
SS: Yeah, there are actually only about five of us working full time here, and all we do is sift through everything that is sent in and try and find the best video, the best picture, and the best story to post everyday. That’s about it.
MD: Let’s say I wanted to contribute to the content? Do I have to be a college student to submit something in, or can anyone be apart of CollegeHumor’s daily media?
SS: No, anyone can send something in because the content isn’t all college related. We try to put together stuff that college kids will like but you don’t necessarily need to be in college to enjoy it. You know what I mean? However, we added a new feature to the Web site where you can now make a profile so that you can comment on anything on the Web site-on and article or a picture, whatever, and you can write your own updates and publish your own videos to the site. You do need a .edu address to establish that. We want to keep that part especially for the college students. That doesn’t make it a social networking site-we don’t have any friending or messaging features. It’s so other college students can see what people from their school are contributing.
MD: If I have a hilarious photo or a video documenting “stupid human tricks,” how would I go about sharing it with everyone on CollegeHumor? What do I have to do?
SS: If you have a video file or photo, you go to the Web site and find the upload link at the top of the page and it will ask you if you are submitting a picture, a video, or a hotlink, and then agree to a little waiver-“I didn’t steal this from anyone, and it’s not from TV,” what have you and then you upload it. Then our managing editor goes through all the stuff that comes in and then picks all the best ones that go to the national site and then others will go to a “local” site of the school that submitted it. So if I’m at UCONN and I upload a clip that isn’t that great, like it’s funny for anyone that goes to UCONN but not for anyone else, that clip will go to UCONN’s page.
MD: So you’re saying every school has their own link where they can check out what other people at school are sending in. Would mind explaining the “schools” section a little bit more for us?
SS: Right. In there you’ll find that every school has their own page with a variety of different media that people send from that particular school, and some of it will make it to the national site, but most of it just stays on that schools page. And if a lot of students from one school are sending in a bunch of videos, we have a “most active schools” section and that’s just for whatever school is uploading the most stuff. Then we have rankings-Ohio State has the most pictures and videos related to “beer” so they’re like the No. 1 “beer” school on our site-so we sort it kind of like that way.
MD: You mentioned you helped co-write a book for CollegeHumor. What does the book have to offer that you can’t find on the Web site?
SS: For someone who is in college right now, they’ll read a lot of it and they’ll see things where like we’re giving advice about little tricks you can pull. It really funny more so than it is useful, so you’ll find a lot of “that’s so truisms” where like you’ll be reading something and say to yourself, “Oh that’s so true about my school.” At least that’s the hope. It does have useful hints and tricks in there. One of my favorites was an article one of the site owners wrote about the best excuse for missing class ever: It’s to tell your professor that your brother just “came out of the closet” and that you’re from a very strict religious family and you have to go home for a family emergency-I doubt any professor is going to want to deal with that. So it’s the little things like that-some absurd content and jokes-so we try to cover pretty much everything that we could think of, because we all wrote it fresh out of college. We’re not like a bunch of 30-year-olds writing about shit that happened ten years ago.
MD: Killer. Now back to the Web site, as for the future of CollegeHumor, are their any plans for a subscription fee in the works or will the content of your site always remain free?
SS: Oh no. In my mind we’re adamantly against making someone pay to see viral video at this point. It’s just impossible when you can get it from so many places for free, like Youtube, you know? I mean, we make our money off advertising, so there’s no need to charge people to come look at the videos and pictures. We did have a site at one time called “CollegeHumor: Raw” that was a subscription site that had all the stuff that schools sent in and not just what we posted on the national page. But when we created that “schools” section, we did away with that-it was phased out.
MD: Now, are you guys owned and operated by students or, like the rumors I’ve heard, you were recently sold to a larger company? If so, is the transition going to affect the content in any way?
SS: Yeah we were recently bought by a major conglomerate called Interactive Corp. We’re the really the only content site that they own; they own other Web sites like Ask.com, and a lot of similar businesses like that. They haven’t made any decisions to alter the site or take it out of our hands because I think they understand that that would just kill the site. We want to keep this free and from college students, for college students.
MD: All right, last big question for you. Are their any new content features or any other changes ahead for College Humor that we should look forward to?
SS: Wow, that’s a big question, man. Ha ha. Yeah, we’re going to be launching this week or early next week an update, where everyone now who has an account with us can write their own updates, and put pictures and things up, kind of like a blog spot on CollegeHumor. Part of my job will be to comb over it everyday and if I see something that really stands out, I’ll try and push it to the front, which is a pretty big deal. Like, for incoming people that check out the front page everyday. They’ll get a fair amount of read. We also have some fun contests in the works. We’re making this thing that will make it very easy for us to have little picture or video contests, so we’re really excited about that. We’re basically just trying to get more people involved with contributing to the site and rewarding them with prizes here and there. We’ve also thought about adding a store to kind of sell funny products, because everyday people will send us links to these weird little sites that sell strange stuff, so we’re thinking of collecting all funny and obscure things together on our site and selling them.
MD: Sounds good Streeter. Anything else you can think of worth mentioning?
SS: Yeah. Starting next week we’ll be charging a $3.50 subscription fee per week plus tax, and you’ll only be able to access the site from New York or Florida. You’re really gonna like it!