College campuses are hormonal hotbeds for social media, and collegiate entrepreneurs keep on churning out new social apps targeting the college population, just as granddaddy Facebook did back in ’04. One of the more recent new entrants into the college social arena is Friendsy (not to be confused with dear, departed Friendster), which was started by two Princetonians, Mike Pinsky and Vaidhy Murti, back in 2013.
Friendsy, which currently has about 10,000 users at 40 colleges across the U.S., combines a number of features similar to those found in other social networks like Facebook, Tinder, and Yik Yak. Users can post profiles, peruse other profiles, then anonymously register their interest; if there’s a match, both parties will be alerted. The app is intended for both platonic and romantic purposes, and users can indicate whether they’re interested in being friends or something more.
According to the app’s creators, so far most of the mutual matches (60%) have been for friendship -- although considering the devious ways of the human heart some users who want to be “friends” may be focused on something more. In cases where the second user hasn’t already viewed the first user’s profile, the second user is invited to review a collection of “likely suspects” (matching the first user’s general profile) in order to elicit a response without giving away the first user’s identity.
As Shakespeare had it: “Oh, what tangled webs we weave as we seek to get laid.”
As noted there are lots of new social networks targeting college students, and some of them have some pretty cool features. One recent addition is Blend, a mobile social app founded in October of last year. Blend has an interesting mass participatory approach. Each day, the social network posts a “theme” and invites users to share photos based on it. Other users then judge the photos with “Snaps” (basically “likes”). Members can then use the “Snaps” as a social currency to buy Blend Gifts, including products and gift cards from popular brands.
Also last year Taylor Robinette, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, launched Bevii, which tracks your offline interactions with other members via a smartphone app, adding and dropping people from your social circle based on how much you interact with them in the “real world.” It also assigns a relationship value to the connection between any two individuals, which in turn determines how much of each other’s content they can see -- basically automating many of the privacy settings that require manual interaction on a site like Facebook. After an unfortunate (and best forgotten) launch stunt last October, Bevii seemed to be back in action in April of this year.