By Josh Stowe ’01
Notre Dame Alumni Association
If you’re a Notre Dame alumnus or fan who spends any amount of time online, chances are you’ve seen “27 Signs You Went to Notre Dame.” The BuzzFeed piece, a nostalgic mix of cleverly captioned images, flooded social media feeds and email inboxes last month.
It was just the sort of visually appealing, list-heavy article, or “listicle,” for which BuzzFeed has become known. Beyond that, it was a nod to ND student life, sprinkled with a variety of inside references—everything from dorm life and navigating Du Lac to the joys of tailgating and epic ’Backer visits, seasoned with an obligatory jab at South Bend winters.
Laura Seago ’09 wrote the piece. The native Texan, a former McGlinn Hall resident who now works for BuzzFeed in New York, recently chatted with ND Today about the story behind the story.
How did you end up writing this?
I had wanted to write an article about Notre Dame for a long time. Then, someone posted an article on “31 Reasons Why It’s Perfectly Acceptable to Hate Notre Dame.” All my friends were contacting me and asking, “Why didn’t you stop this? You let this happen.”
Now my job is not actually writing. I work in marketing. My primary role is creating sales materials to get advertisers to work with us. But I’ll write articles on the side sometimes. And a lot of people don’t know this, but BuzzFeed is actually an open platform. Anyone with an account can start an article, so I did.
Were you surprised that your article took off like it did, or did you expect that?
I think by creating an article about a university, it’s just a natural fit for sharing. There are certain things that are inherently sharable, and one of those things is identity. How many times have you seen someone share something with a friend and say, “Hey, this is totally you?” People want to be understood and communicate to others that “Look, this is my identity.’”
Looking back on it, it all comes back to the idea that great content finds its audience. I shared it on my Facebook page and from there it proliferated. But that was it. I don’t think it was ever promoted on the BuzzFeed homepage, it just spread organically. It’s the kind of thing where anyone who went to Notre Dame shared it, and anyone who knew someone who went to Notre Dame shared it with them. Eventually, everyone from Notre Dame is sure to see it.”
You clearly captured the look and feel of campus life with your piece. Let’s talk about what you miss most about campus.
Oh, so many things. Definitely everything about Game Day. Families on campus, football on the quad, the smell of brats in the air. Also, running around the lakes. It’s one of those moments when you recognize how lucky you are to be at Notre Dame. I definitely miss my ND friends, especially my roommates. We’ve had an email chain going since graduation. And of course eating at the dining hall—sometimes in my pajamas. You can’t do that in New York.