TSL Chats with WhatShouldWeCall5C Creators

Watch out 5C students—there’s another flurry of all-nighter-inducing procrastination fodder and cheap entertainment taking the Claremont Internet bubble by storm. Student-run blogs and Twitter handles, strategically modeled after their viral predecessors, examine life at the 5Cs under the lens of humorous GIFs, sarcastic memes and clever tweets that play on specific nuances of Claremont life. 

One such 5C-centered internet phenomenon is the Tumblr blog titled “WhatShouldWeCall5C.” A spinoff of the overwhelmingly popular “What Should We Call Me,” the blog pairs everyday occurrences with an animated reaction image, also known as a GIF, that conveys a fitting reaction or feeling in each given situation. The formula is fairly basic but the end result yields snort-worthy epiphanies.  

A common favorite pokes fun at the stereotypes associated with liberal arts students and features a headline of, “What people think when I say I go to a liberal arts college,” accompanied by a GIF of a “Toddlers and Tiaras” contestant adorably smiling for the camera. The caption underneath reads, “Emerald’s ambition is to become an octopus or a photographer.” The humor is better appreciated when experienced first-hand. 

The blog was first created last year by two Pomona College sponsors, Danielle Holstein PO ’14 and Benjamin Shand PO ’14, and has since accumulated more than 400 followers. I had the opportunity to ask them some questions over email about their ingenious creation and the ramifications of their sudden rise in Internet fame.

Irene Hsiung: I am honored to meet the brains of “WhatShouldWeCall5C.” Can you tell me a little bit about yourselves? What are you studying? What’s your favorite eating utensil? 

Benjamin Shand (BS): I’m a junior Economics major/Math minor studying abroad at Yonsei Univ. in Seoul, Korea….I guess for the moment my favorite eating utensil would be chopsticks because forks aren’t a big part of my life over here. Danielle is also a junior and she is majoring in Philosophy. I think Danielle probably likes forks the best because she eats a lot of pasta and salad. 

IH: If you had to sum up your blog in a sentence or two to someone who has never experienced the magic that are Internet memes, how would you do it?

Danielle Holstein (DH): Humor catering to the largest possible number of people by drawing from shared experiences.

IH: So what was the inspiration for “WhatShouldWeCall5C?” Describe your Eureka! moment.

BS: I actually totally ripped off #WSWC5C off of a blog called #whatshouldDcallme, which is the .gif blog for Dartmouth (my best friend goes to Dartmouth and sent it to me). 

IH: Once the idea was hatched, how did you go about doing it? What is the creative process like for creating the witty posts? Do you make your own GIFs?

BS: We don’t make our own GIFs (most of the time at least)…it kind of takes a while and there’s a multitude of wonderful GIFs out there already. Sometimes we see a GIF and think of a caption, sometimes we know of an event/situation on campus and go scouring for an appropriate GIF. It’s all about having that “aha” moment—but I’m afraid that it’s sort of intangible! We also get a lot of submissions, which is awesome.

IH: On a somewhat relevant side note, according to your professional and expert opinion, is it pronounced “jif” or “gif”?

DH:  Although the original creators of .gifs technically pronounced it as “.jif,” “.gif” is what you’re going to hear much more often nowadays.

IH: It seems to me that you both are pretty down-to-earth people. How do you manage to stay so grounded with all the fame that comes with running such a successful blog?

BS: It’s all about keeping routines. I’m talking about Mudd Pasta Night, Pitzer Pasta Lunch, Mudd-Golian, Saturday Night Sushi & Pasta, Burrito Night, and ordering food from Mix Bowl a lot. 

IH: Truer words have never been spoken. Well, is there anything else you would like TSL readers to know?

DH: Please submit to the blog!!! Some of our best posts are submissions and it’ll really help us be more inclusive of all the 5Cs and will help us keep the blog alive while we’re abroad!! If you don’t like the blog, sorry we’re not sorry!

There you have it: words of wisdom from two of the most successful bloggers the Claremont community has ever bred. Other 5C blogs include the Tumblr blog called “Overheard at Mudd,” which boasts the tagline, “The Best and Brightest Students in the Country Say the Darnedest Things” and serves as a digital quote board of sorts, documenting ridiculous sayings that have been heard leaving the mouths of Harvey Mudd students. Taken out of context, these mumblings ultimately prove to be hilarious or crude and provide insight into the Mudd student psyche. Also featuring brief, witty lines of text, the Twitter handle @PomonaProblems sarcastically delivers the trivial struggles of Pomona student life in 140 characters or less.

Check them out at: http://whatshouldwecall5c.tumblr.com/, http://overheardatmudd.tumblr.com and https://twitter.com/PomonaProblems.

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