NDNation is, as any graduate who has been following the blogosphere knows, the main website for user-generated content and interactive sharing. It is the most popular social networking site for Domers, many who have bonded since matriculation.
Numerous other small cybergroups also have Notre Dame connections. They are characterized by an alumni breast-cancer support network, and a group whose members met on the London program in early 1980s.
NDNation discusses Parenting and Relationships
These groups and others discuss topics such as parenting, relationships and growing older, depression, and spirituality on TOUCH FOR HEALTH the Internet. A recent count showed that there were 448 Notre Dame-associated Facebook groups, 184 YouTube postings, and 67 MySpace posts, just to name the most popular online networking sites.
NDNation is a big number. It has 6,000 registered posters and 30,000 lurkers who aren’t active but read the posts. There are 20 million hits per month.
It was established as a forum for discussing football recruiting in 1999. The site has been maintained by three Notre Dame graduates and a University of Delaware graduate over the years. Mike Cash ’94 is a New Orleans resident in internal medicine; Mike Coffey ’91, Oak Lawn (Illinois), the author of a book about Irish basketball and a database administrator; and John Vannie 75, San Diego, a senior defense contractor manager and author of numerous articles on Notre Dame football. Scott Engler is the fourth manager. He was a television journalist who is now a consultant to medium-to-business executives.
NDNation does not charge fees or pay for advertising. Donations pay for expenses such as server costs and state and federal taxes, rental of post offices boxes, and underwriting one tailgate per year.
NDNation More than just football
NDNation’s first screen is “surprise!” NDNation’s first screen is a screen that is athletic-oriented. It ranks Notre Dame alongside Southern California and Michigan in the top three teams for team-specific blogs. A typical day will include standard sections on football, men’s and ladies’ basketball, as well as links to other publications. The athletics department is often given advice on improving ticket handling and how to keep Notre Dame’s “brand” intact. (Jumbotrons can be bad, but corporate boxes are okay). The site has a graph that tracks the rise of football recruiting. It also links to a story about the Joyce Athletic Center’s makeover.
In a series of 100 messages, NDNation’s philosophical core can be found. These messages were posted in 2005 to answer the question “What has ND football tradition meant to me?”. The central belief thread is Tradition, with a capital T. The weave is football, and the tapestry the weekend festival that surrounds it. Sometimes one finds the stereotyped “old Notre Dame” here. This is the populist resentment towards contemporary decision-makers (“real Estate salesmen, blazer-wearing phonies”) as well as what they have wrought (“pale anemic, lacecurtain Irish Tea Party”). These dyspeptic people believe that someone has destroyed Tradition and weakened football, taking away the glory of Saturday afternoons.