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On Campus: Combining Social Networking and Social Media

College students have long been amenable users of any technology that allows them to communicate about common interests and now they can combine the best of all the social networking sites and the available social media on one site.

The new Uspot service, from Los Angeles-based Uspot, allows college students to create, share and communicate in one location and through common interests such as entertainment, social events and hobbies.

Uspot claims to unite two of the hottest on-line segments today, social networking and social media. It is the first site to offer the unique blend of social networking and rich media sharing technologies. Unlike typical social networking sites that focus on meeting people nationwide, often strangers, The Uspot connects people with common interests and allows them to explore those interests together, according to company officials.

The difference, I guess, is that the focus is not so much on meeting or, in some cases, dating other people, but rather in finding out how deep those common interests go. The site doesn't feel like a dating service, and it isn't.The Uspot provides a range of rich media options, multi-tiered privacy settings and customized profiles. Students essentially set up their own personal network and start sharing music, photos, podcasts, blogs, etc. related to their own personal interest. The idea is that the more one shares, the more reason for those with common interests to communicate and share back and the group of contacts expands.

Members create their own profiles and can upload audio and video files to their artist profile that will even allow them to showcase their college band or their own independent music and films.

Other features allow them to post classifieds and events, invite friends to parties and happenings around campus, or utilize electronic calendars/alerts to manage class schedules, lectures, events etc.

The Uspot also includes instant messaging, e-cards, and multi-media e-mail.

Providing a range of options for expression seems to make a lot of sense in the college environment. And it's something that corporate messaging technology managers will have to consider as these students enter the workforce. Young people have always wanted to be heard and with new social networking technologies they can be. Being heard in the vast competitive business landscape is also a requirement and tapping into the younger generation's experience could certainly benefit a business organization.

These kids are learning to develop audiences and collaborate on creative projects. They're learning how to become effective critics and how to provide timely, useful information for a broader constituency. And once connected, they are learning how to stay connected.

Those are extremely useful skills in a business setting.