A new social networking site, Spotflag, is currently being beta-tested exclusively at AU.
AU students will be the first in the world to use Spotflag, a website similar to Facebook and Twitter, except that connections between users are based on proximity.
Spotflag founder and CEO Sambou Makalou said the San Francisco-based start-up chose AU as its pilot school because of its urban environment, its strong focus on community service and a friendly response from AU Student Government President Nate Bronstein after the start-up contacted various university student presidents. “Spotflag is kind of like Facebook for where you are,” Makalou said. “If you wanted to know what are your friends all over the country — all over the world — were saying, then you’d go to Facebook and check your status updates. If you wanted to know what people are saying that you might not necessarily be friends with or know on campus, then you’d go to Spotflag and see what’s being posted.”
Spotflag is not affiliated with AU or the SG, and neither are receiving money from the company.
Bronstein said the University’s political activism and service focus make AU a great place for Spotflag to try to break into the market.
Students can use Spotflag to attract people to a service project, to find friends at a party, advertise events or locate people in the library working on the same assignment, Bronstein said.
“Really, the possibilities are endless and the cool things about it [Spotflag] is that it just combines all the other three social networks,” Bronstein said.
To join, students sign up, sync their account with Facebook or Twitter so Spotflag knows their interests and begin posting messages called “flags.”
Users can check into their locations on Spotflag throughout the day, choose a radius from 500 feet to 25 miles of how far out they want to look for and see the flags, events and people within their chosen radius.
Users can choose to be anonymous, and their location will only be shown if they choose to check in to Spotflag, according to Makalou.
“You’re posting your location, but it’s for the other people who are there, who are already at that location,” Makalou said. “So it’s not that someone across the world or across town or whatever knows that you’re at a certain location so they can track you. It’s basically saying ‘We’re both here at this event, and I just want to know who else is here.’”
After gathering feedback at AU, Spotflag hopes to expand the site to more universities across the country.
“We really encourage AU students to use it [Spotflag] and give their feedback, because you guys are molding the future of Spotflag,” Makalou said. “Our anticipation is that as this takes off, it’s going to be known as something that came out of AU. Just like Facebook came out of Harvard, this is going to come out of American University.”
AU students can join by signing up at http://www.spotflag.com.