Webshots launches networking site

By Elizabeth Mainardi

In the age of Facebook, MySpace, instant messages and cell phones, college students could carry on robust social lives without ever leaving their desks. Now Webshots, a site for posting digital photos, is launching a new online networking site, complete with video capabilities and a focus on parties.

Yesterday, Webshots launched CollegeLive, an online social networking site which offers “direct competition” to Facebook and MySpace, according to a release.

Students who sign up for this free service will be able to plan events, send e-vites and send messages to invited guests. After the event, everyone who attended can post photos on the event page.

“We see literally millions of images from the college community coming into Webshots each week,” said Russ Novy, director of marketing for Webshots. “We created CollegeLive as a real cool place where everyone can combine all their pictures from the event. It becomes collaborative.”

CollegeLive users also have an opportunity to create a small personal profile, though not as extensive or revealing as MySpace or Facebook.

“We think we are giving students the widest palette to express themselves through the party and picture database,” said Charlie Barrett, vice president of sales and marketing for Webshots. “MySpace and Facebook are great sources for dating directories, but CollegeLive is real social networking.”

Security in CollegeLive comes from requiring that all students have a college-issued e-mail address to register.

Like Facebook, students can only view the profiles and pictures of students who attend their school. Students must be granted permission to access profiles of students from other schools, and must know the exact e-mail address of anyone they are trying to search for.

“It’s all part of your school’s walled garden,” Novy said.

CollegeLive also has a team of employees surveying the site and screening its contents to ensure no prohibited content is posted, including nudity, slander, exploiting children, cruelty to animals and copyrighted material.

The link to register will be posted on the main Webshots page, or at www.CollegeLive.webshots.com.

Despite the differences between Webshots and other online networking sites, sophomore journalism major Cait Dooley said there is no need for another such site.

“I don’t think CollegeLive is adding anything particularly new or interesting to the Internet,” she said. “If people have pictures of the same events, they will get around to everyone who wants them.”

Freshman psychology major Laurie Marino has several Webshots accounts, but said she doesn’t think she would use the site for anything more than posting pictures.

“I wouldn’t rely on the Internet to get word out about my party. I would just ask them in person,” Marino said.

Although she would not use CollegeLive to plan her own parties, Marino would consider registering so she could look at her classmates’ photos.

“I would get an account to see other people’s because I’m nosy and I like to stalk other people when I’m bored,” Marino said.

But students already have numerous tools for being nosy, and freshman international business major Andrew Alperin said for him, another site would just lead to more wasted time.

“Facebook is sufficient,” Alperin said. “I only need to be addicted to one thing.”

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