As the creator of the increasingly popular blog ďThe MBTA Ruined My Life,Ē Ali Wisch is becoming something of a local celebrity. As frustrated commuters turn to Twitter and Tumblr to vent their frustrations and commiserate with others, the animated GIFs Wisch pairs with humorous (and often profane) captions are being shared and re-shared online by riders seeking the release of laughter.
A graduate of Vermontís Champlain College, Wisch, 27, moved to Boston three years ago when she tired of her post-college life living in northern New Jersey and commuting to an internship at a Brooklyn-based magazine. It was last August, when she moved to Brighton, sold her car, and began a daily commute on the Green Line that the MBTA began to ruin her life.
A. Yes. Even though it was long, it wasnít that bad. There was never anyone on the train. Even during rush hour, you could always get a seat.
Q. But when you first moved here, you still had a car and didnít use the T much?
A. I lived in Cambridge and took the Red Line maybe once a month, so I didnít really understand what all the fuss was about.
Q. And after you moved to Brighton, were you having a lot of really negative experiences?
A. I wouldnít say that Iíve been in any more extenuating circumstances than anyone else. Iíve been on trains that were broken down, and Iíve had the doors not open, and Iíve been late to where I was supposed to get to, like a million times.
Q. So what inspired you to create the blog?
A. I was a writing major [in college], and Iíve done blogging. I really like expressing myself. Ö There was no particular straw that broke the camelís back. I was just having a bad morning. People were bumping into me, and I didnít have anywhere to sit.
Q. What kind of response have you gotten?
A. I was really surprised. I wasnít a Tumblr user before that. I didnít know what GIF stood for. But thereís this whole Tumblr community thatís really supportive. Ö I only showed it to two people at first: my best friend and my boyfriend. And I didnít tell them at first that I made it. Ö When I told them, they were like, ĎWow, you made this?í
Then other people started following, and I wouldnít say it went viral or anything, but it got a response. And then BostInno did a story on it.
Q. So traffic has been good?
A. Well, I set up Google Analytics, but I was still a newbie and everything, so I didnít know what traffic was good traffic. But I had that page up on my screen, and a guy in the office walked by and stopped, and he said, ĎWhoa, what is that? Youíre really getting a lot of traffic.í
The funny thing is, that wasnít even a particularly busy time. Typically it has between 200 and 300 people on it at any one time.
And then the other day I was on the Green Line when it broke down. Ö I was upset until I got to the office and saw that I had about 600 visitors. So now Iím excited when something bad happens on the T.
[Recently] my roommate called and said, ĎSome cement fell from the ceiling on the Orange Line. Itís going to be a good night for your blog.í
Q. Is it hard to keep coming up with new ideas?
A. I definitely have to stretch my imagination a bit. Not everything that I make a GIF for is something thatís actually happened to me. I also look at transit systems in other cities for inspiration, and I donít just look at the negative things. Ö
I just want to be able to entertain people and be able to laugh at the [bad] things that happen in everyday life. Ö I donít want it to be too political, but Ö the way the public transit system is now is not sustainable and it shouldnít be the norm. Thereís a reason why so many people like this blog and itís called ĎThe MBTA Ruined My Life.í
This interview has been edited and condensed. To visit Wischís blog ó which has images and captions some may find objectionable ó click here.