The Odyssey Online: A Year In The Life
This past week, I wrote an article for The Odyssey Online. Despite their claims that they allow everyone to share their opinions, they are refusing to publish it. The following is the article:
Last August, I was hired to write and be the Social Media Director for the Odyssey at Bridgewater State. Since then, a lot has changed for us. For one thing, we now can't even actually say that I was hired to be a writer. We have to say that I was 'invited to be a Content Creator'. I get it though; the Odyssey is still a relatively new company, which means that they are still trying to figure out what works for them. I'm sure it was just a coincidence that they asked editors to stop referring to writers as such the week after a group of them were tweeting the Odyssey's official Twitter, using the hashtag #PayYourWriters. Maybe they thought not calling us writers would make the problem go away.
In the year since I have started working at the Odyssey, I have learned a lot of lessons. For one, college students are easy to take advantage of. When you're in college, one of the things that is constantly on your mind is the fact that getting a job after you graduate will be really hard. Due to this, you are willing to do whatever it takes to get experience, including working for free for a company that as of April, has made 25 million dollars and the only real chance to get paid is if you happen to have the most shares of your team for the week. And even then, it is only 20 dollars. Of course, 20 dollars can go a long way for a broke college student, so people continue to let it slide.
I have also realized that being a Social Media Director is very difficult when corporate is telling you that you are no longer allowed to have social media pages for your team's work. But don't worry; I can still promote our team articles on our private Facebook group. When the ability to have our own pages was taken away from us, we were none too happy. As Bridgewater is a comparatively small state school, compared to the Odyssey's other schools, we were afraid we would get lost in the shuffle. They assured us that the main Odyssey page will post all different types of articles and ours would be included in them as well. It was a lie. Despite the great work that has come out of our team, despite the team of editors trying to bring it to the attention of the higher ups, we always seemed to be overlooked. It is probably because my team doesn't form to what the Odyssey really wants: the opinions of rich white kids who go to private Christian schools.
The Odyssey is supposed to be about the differing views of my generation. Yet, those of us that have seen struggle in our lives, those of us from different classes, races and religions, those of us that have to work 60 hour weeks to get through life and school are not heard. These people, like the ones on my team, struggle to get more than twenty shares a week because the only people who see them are our family members. We apparently are not good enough to be published on their Facebook page or their Twitter. Then the higher ups turn around and demand that we do better. Demand that we write more articles, demand that we get more shares and more views. Demand that we make them more money just so we can go back to getting ignored.
At this point, if you're still reading this rant that I have written, you may ask why I still write for them. The answer is simple. Through the frustration that is being a 'Content Creator,' the members of my team and the editors have bonded over how much we go through. The last thing I would want to do is make the friends that I have made go through all of this alone. This is why I still try to help my team boost shares and why I have in the past written more than one article a week along with my editors just to make our minimum article count.
Based on the past, I know this article probably won't reach that far but it is what I wanted to write about. And the Odyssey is about sharing your thoughts and view points, right?