By: Teddy Corcoran
On February 20, 2019, Ray Herras, first year master of international affairs (MIA) student at Columbia University, went live on Facebook for over 26 minutes. “It was spur of the moment,” Herras said. “I saw it was snowing, and I thought, ‘huh, why not? Nobody does this.’” The video, which was shot from Herras’ laptop, shows him in front of the glass-encased courtyard commonly known as “the fishbowl” at the International Affairs Building. “It gave a chance for family, friends, and colleagues to see snow and to see me,” Herras said. “But it was more about the snow. It was not about me.”
While the footage primarily shows Herras at work, several notable moments also occurred. At 4:02, Herras waved to the camera and mouthed, “homework.” At 11:02, he ignored a phone call and raised his eyebrows. At 20:29, he turned the camera away so he could eat a meal with a classmate in private.
Memorable activity took place in the comments section as well. Javier C. Caceres Santana, Herras’ former boss in the U.S. Army reserve, wrote, “You have not aged...” Four minutes later, Herras responded: “Lol… I'm older and wiser.”
Several SIPA students watched Herras’ video, including second-year MPA student June Ban, who watched the first nine seconds, fast-forwarded three times, then stopped watching at the 19:34 mark. “I definitely thought it was interesting,” Ban said.Other SIPA students had far less to say. When asked about the now two-month old video, second-year MIA Liran Braude said “I didn’t see it.”
To date, “Studying and Snowing at SIPA” has ten “likes” on Facebook, along with one “love,” and one “wow.” It has been viewed 265 times. “Messaging through social media is a very powerful tool,” Herras said. “It can’t be understated.”
When asked if he felt self conscious while recording, Herras shook his head.
When asked why he stopped recording, Herras said, “I had class.”
When asked how he felt after it was over, Herras said, “good.”