Taking a Web page out of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, the Internet’s latest social networking site, College Tonight, plans to get students away from the computer and into the nightclub.
The new Web site, www.collegetonight.com, which began accepting users in late September, centers on bringing students together through nightlife activities and collegiate social communities. College Tonight will host the events around various college campuses and encourage users to participate in actual face-to-face interaction. Yesterday evening, College Tonight hosted a party at the Tonic Nightclub on State Street with prizes and special guest, Trisha, of MTV’s “The Real World: Sydney” fame.
Zachary Suchin, a recent college graduate and the president and CEO of College Tonight Inc., says that his Web site is the future of online networking.
“College Tonight is your general social sidekick and is what we believe social networking should have evolved into by 2007, but hasn’t yet,” he said.
The site is currently promoting its Disorientation Tour, which will include 52 party-style events targeting over one hundred college campuses.
Night Vision Entertainment President Brett Hyman, whose company assists College Tonight with party preparations, said such events would serve as a catalyst to foster social interaction within student communities.
Suchin said his service includes aspects that other sites like Facebook and Myspace do not have, including an ability to meet online friends in person. He also said that protection of the online users is a priority. Facebook, he said, has lost much of its credibility in the privacy department.
“Facebook is not a protected community anymore,” Suchin said. “Facebook has moved along to monetize their wider user base.”
Suchin said College Tonight includes several privacy settings and requires users to supply a legitimate e-mail address.
He also said the profiles are very simple and do not provide excessive information about the users. Although the Web site aims to rid itself of any harmful users, Suchin said most networking sites are rarely 100 percent risk-free.
Santa Barbara Sheriff Dept. spokesman Erik Raney said social networking Web sites open users up for potential attacks, noting the ability for people to disguise their identity. He said that these Web sites are a perfect place to victimize users.
“The inherent danger of those types of Web sites and personal exchange-type venues is that it gives predators or would-be predators a venue to solicit victims for crimes,” Raney said. “They can purport to be anyone they can think of to lure potential victims.”
First-year history major Miles Freeman said he was curious about the concept.
“I think it’s an interesting social experiment and sort of a new aspect of the 21st century,” Freeman said.
However, Freeman also said he would feel apprehensive about actually participating in the site-sponsored activities.