Wall posts and instant messaging have shoved face-to-face communication aside in the digital age.
UCMeTalk, a recently launched social networking site, does not conform to this trend. Instead, it is a forum for face-to-face communication.
Designed for University of California students, professors and alumni, the site is a space where like-minded people from different universities can connect through video chat. After months of preparation, the site was made available to UC students on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.
“Video-based communication creates extraordinary opportunities for the development of both personal and professional long-lasting relationships,” said Nazir Katbi, UCMeTalk’s project manager and one of its creators. “UCMeTalk looks to nurture that potential.”
UCMeTalk differs from other social networking sites in that it is aimed exclusively at college students, alumni and professors.
“Structuring UCMeTalk around the college atmosphere maximizes its benefit,” Katbi said. “You’re not talking to random strangers around the world who don’t understand you and can’t empathize with you. You’re meeting your peers, those closest to you in experience and mind.”
However some students on campus, like third-year earth sciences major from Crown College Natalie Zimdahl, are skeptical about UCMeTalk’s effective potential.
“I don’t think it’s going to be particularly effective, mainly because Facebook pretty much trumps everything that comes out,” Zimdahl said.
Facebook presents major competition for any social networking website. However, Katbi said UCMeTalk does not aim to compete with Facebook.
“Facebook is a place you visit to keep up with your old friends, share what you’ve been up to and compromise your privacy,” Katbi said. “UCMeTalk is an environment where you can meet new friends on campus, network with students in your major across different campuses, and explore the broad selection of interests that college campuses truly offer through a webcam. Simply put, our aim is to bring campuses together, and get students jobs. Period.”
Having graduated from Purdue University just this year, the struggles of college students and recent graduates strongly resonate with Katbi. Katbi said he and his co-founder, Anthony Liu created UCMeTalk because of the challenges presented to students and graduates.
“Connections are everything out of college. I wish I had known about [UCMeTalk],” said Annie Ahn, a recent UCSC graduate.
“We’re losing certain guarantees that we may have taken for granted, such as the guarantee of a job after graduation and a chance at exploring different fields before picking a future career,” Katbi said. “We struggle for years under an enormous amount of pressure and should be rewarded for our vigilance. That’s something the UCMeTalk team really believes.”
To learn more about UCMeTalk, or to register an account, visit ucmetalk.com.