Dear college students: ever wonder why you can’t post the latest frat party pictures to your Facebook account? Remember that your mom is your friend on Facebook? Remember that potential future employers can find your Facebook page and potentially incriminating photos? Oh yes, that’s right- no privacy. Five years ago, the only people who could have a Facebook account where those with a .edu address-college students. Upon it’s acceptance of anyone with email, the social networking site exploded onto the mainstream, becoming in short the new way to email. No longer do you need to store old friends’ and long lost relatives’ e-mail address to keep in touch. Now you can log on to your Facebook account and message them anytime, regardless of how many time their email addresses change. It also became the new way for employers to research potential employees, much to their chagrin.
Enter Josh Weinstein, a social-networking entrepreneur based out of New York. Looking to bring back the fun of networking with your friends on campus, Weinstein has founded CollegeOnly.com. The new networking site (just launched last week) is just what it sounds like-for college (students) only. It is meant to be a safe haven for those looking to explore social networking without the prying eyes, looking to be a fun way to network without the fear of having to be totally professional. Don’t want your parents snooping in on your latest drunken exploits? Don’t want your boss to know what you’ve been up to? Good- then try CollegeOnly.com. Those who search for profiles of their friends (or potential future employees) online on search engines such as Google will be surprised to find that they will only find a link to their protected profile. No incriminating pictures of embarrassing headlines will show up; the only thing a person will see is a person’s name and a link to their profile, which they can access if they are a member of CollegeOnly.com.
The site consists of a Twitter-like feed for users to post random thoughts they’re not comfortable posting anywhere else. There’s a “Missed Connections” portal to find someone met at a college party or event, and portals entitled “Events” and “After Party” to tag your friends in pictures. Users are able to import photos from Facebook, and have multiple profile pictures. They will also be able to privatize their profiles in any way they choose, from having them being open to all CollegeOnly users to only have them being accessible by chosen friends. There is also a chat feature for users, as well as online groups for users to make up and join.
For those looking to join CollegeOnly.com, register with your college email. For those whose colleges aren’t acknowledged on the website yet, don’t fret: there is a waiting list. If you and your friends are looking to join, submit your school to the website administrators. Schools will be added incrementally, so keep checking in to see if your school is added. And for those already on the site, enjoy it while it lasts: the site is meant for only those currently enrolled; once you graduate, your stay is finished, as CollegeOnly.com is looking to add itself to your short but sweet college experience. Then the real world sets in, which leads you right back to Facebook, which you can then springboard yourself to your new professional life, having gotten to use CollegeOnly.com to show off all the fun you had without fear of it showing up on your future boss’s (or parents’) desktop.