Wesleyingiversary: Syed Says Hello

“Retirement is hard. I still have random ideas from time to time for both serious and weird Wesleying posts. The only comfort I have is that I might walk down a NYC street and Zach might call me saying, “Hey, are you in Union Square?” because he’s creepily watching you from the coffee shop on the corner. It’s like people always say, Wesleyings Never Die.”

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This is part of our series of Wesleyingiversary interviews. You can find the rest here.

I said what’s up to Syed in a Facebook messenger conversation a week or so ago and we talked about the WSA, Espwesso Pweview Night, and possibly introducing a Wesleying paywall. Now, please kowtow to his blogging greatness:

To start, anything to say about Wesleying lasting for 10 years?

Syed: That’s a lot of weirdness. It’s kind of crazy we’ve lasted for so long, as a group that has never (to my knowledge) been a registered student group with the university.
wilk: Yeah we’re still independent. And I found this post from 2006so we’re really really old in blog years.
Syed: Sweet. I was literally the person who approved student groups at Wesleyan (thru the evil ole WSA) for a year and I still loved that Wesleying could live long and prosper independently.

Can you say a bit about your role on the site?

Syed: I wrote things? It’s funny, I’m looking through my author archives now. I really liked writing about tuition going up, it turns out, and I seem to have written a bunch of things comparing Wesleyan to other institutions in some way or another.

Always important. Do you think Wesleying has a responsibility to inform the masses? Or, what was Wesleying when you were blogging?

Syed: Wesleying was fun. People would comment from time to time saying Wesleying wasn’t as great as it used to be when I was part of the team. People didn’t think we were weird enough sometimes, and they didn’t think we were serious enough other times. It was really funny because if anything, we’d probably been acting more like a serious news outlet than before. We definitely *informed* people, but it always surprised me when people were accusing of bias. We never pretended to be a newspaper. We never pretended that any of the authors didn’t have bias. If anything, adding really weird, ranty perspective was our added value sometimes.

Was there anything that you wrote about that seemed to generate a lot of dialogue?

Syed: Hmm, I can’t remember anything in particular. I more so remember that people would somehow echo things said on Wesleying across campus—even if it was just your own rant. Re: the previous question, I literally have a line at the end of a post in 2010 that says “Sorry for the awfully Argus-y post.” haha
wilk: hermes once told me a story about how there was this WSA publications meeting and Zach once sassily asked the Argus how many pageviews they had? Were you there for this?
Syed: That sounds like something I would be at, through my WSA hat or my Wesleying hat. (Can we get Wesleying hats?!?!) Don’t remember it though, [but] I do want to know the answer to that.
wilk: yES we need hats! We can use them to fundraise. OR start some kind of loyalty rewards program
Syed: loyalty through page views? haha we should put up some sort of fancy NYT-esque paywall for a day, just for fun

That would be a great April Fools joke. Speaking of which, were there any particularly absurd posts you remember? Whether yours or others?

SyedThis is by A-Batte. It’s one of my faves.
Wilk: Omg a classic. I stumbled across that my frosh year
Syed: There’s so much random, absurd stuff that happens but this was somehow both legit and absurd. It’s tagged “SOWWY IF YOU WUHN’T ABWE TO WEED THIS POST”
wilk: oh Wesweying
Syed: haha
Syed: We also had some great April Fools days. One year we did a Perez Hilton-esque theme; it was really pink and blinged out. I’m now struggling to find evidence of this..
wilk: Oh the posts are usually made private after April Fools but that sounds hilarious. Zach’s WTF post too made me go wtf
Syed: Hahaha that’s a very WTF post. Zach is a creative genius.

Truly. Any staff shoutouts you want to make?

Syed: There was one year when I did some, umm, “research” (searching in the directory) and I discovered that there were 32 people named Zach on campus. But really, Zach was the Zach. He rose above. A-Batte is/was/will be incredible, of course — no point in saying more than that, that’s just fact. And pyrotechnics was…explosive… Sorry, couldn’t help that.
wilk: I’m sure pyrotechnics wouldn’t mind the description.
Syed: Sheek was inspirational, hermes had all the sour patch kids. It was just all around an amazing group of people. I’m going to stop myself from listing every single person. It’s pretty awesome to be able to keep a blog with thousands and thousands of views without almost any in-person meetings. The listserv was life. And life was great. I never actually left the Google Group…
wilk: Yeah we need to re-up on the listserv game.
Syed: You do. It’s not weird enough right now.
wilk: Duly noted.

Is there anything you want to say about retirement? Or wisdom you want to impart on current Weskids?

Syed: Retirement is hard. I still have random ideas from time to time for both serious and weird Wesleying posts. The only comfort I have is that I might walk down a NYC street and Zach might call me saying, “Hey, are you in Union Square?” because he’s creepily watching you from the coffee shop on the corner. It’s like people always say, Wesleyings Never Die.
wilk: We better never die.

What are you up to these days?

Syed: I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have.

OR: I’m living in NYC like every other Wesleyan alum does for at least a lil bit, doing digital communications for a food justice nonprofit. Part of my job actually includes running the org’s blogs.

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[Updated 8/26/2016, at 1:26PM]

Some fan favorites:

Read Syed’s other 361 posts here.

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