New social niche for college students

By Tim Jones

CollegeOnly.com
Are you one of the students who’s tired of the random online wall posts from your parents or friends uploading embarrassing photos that you don’t want others to see? Your answer may soon be here, thanks to www.collegeonly.com, a website that combines certain elements of social networking with a community of only college students.

Created by Josh Weinstein, the site only allows students with a college e-mail address to sign up, though, the current number of schools is still very limited, considering the site launched at the beginning of the month.

The University of Massachusetts has yet to be added to the list, but popular demand will hasten the process.

Students can post anything on the site, including pictures they wouldn’t want people, such as parents or future employers to see and have discussions without their entire family finding out.

With such categories as “after party,” “missed connections” and “events,” students can label the content they want and keep utmost privacy on the material they don’t want to fall into the wrong hands.

Weinstein said in a phone interview that he felt there was a need for a college networking site.

“I got the idea from GoodCrush, because I think there is a need for college students to connect, but not necessarily for dating,” he said.

He also says that the site isn’t necessarily about hiding all of your secrets online and going wild.

“We definitely don’t want people to put up pictures of themselves drinking or doing drugs, “said Weinstein. “Once stuff like that goes on the internet, it’s only a matter of time before someone finds it somehow.”

He added, “What it’s really about is removing parents or employers from the equation of what you’re doing on a daily basis in your social life.”

Sophomore Amy Piermarini likes the concept of the site and the idea that she could escape from the younger generations.

“I think that site would be cool because you won’t have to deal with the immature high school kids,” she said.

Piermarini added, “It’s also a good idea to not let jobs be able to look at personal information.”

As far as relations to Facebook, the most popular networking site online, Weinstein says that he isn’t trying to replicate it or compete against it in any way.

“It’s not going to be as big as Facebook, so it won’t have the clutter, but we will pick and choose what features we will add once we receive feedback from the users,” said Weinstein.

As far as what happens when students graduate, people have a couple of options they may choose from. They can just delete all of their data or export their content to their computer, saving what they placed on the site before.

Sophomore Catalina James is interested in seeing how exactly the site will function.

“I’m curious as to how they will set a boundary between personal and professional usage,” she said.

Weinstein originally got his foundation through “GoodCrush” and “RandomDorm,” which were sites that provided a dating spin on the social networking sites in college and linked students from different colleges in chatrooms.

CollegeOnly launched at around seven different schools in time for the 2010 school year, including Yale, in which over half of the student population has signed up.

According to the site’s press kit, “We’re still mapping out the schools we’re looking to expand to — it’s really going to depend on the number of sign-ups and requests that we get from users at each of the schools before we officially launch there.”

Tim Jones can be reached at [email protected]