Zach Suchin, the 22-year-old CEO of the new social networking site College Tonight (collegetonight.com), wants to put the "social" back in "networking." Disillusioned by the prospect of spending Saturday nights at home updating a Facebook profile or cultivating "e-celebrity," Suchin and his College Tonight team have launched an events-centered service intended to be used as a "social sidekick."
"College kids are extremely mobile, extremely intelligent," Suchin says. They're also extremely active beyond their computers, he says.
So College Tonight has a motto: "Get On, Get Up, Get Out." The site is currently available in the Boston area to students at Boston College, Harvard, MIT, Emerson, Northeastern, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Brandeis, Harvard, Tufts, and Boston University. Starting a profile requires an e-mail address with an ".edu" ending.
Once you've set up a "hub," or basic profile, the site stresses meeting your computer acquaintances, or your "entourage," in the real world. You can click on the "hook-ups" page to ask people out, or visit the teasingly named "drunk dials" section to message members.
Understandably for a website that's only been live since September, there's still a bare-bones feel to the party. Many Boston-area student profiles come up feeling undercooked, with few photos, few friends, and few indications that the website is an active resource. The College Tonight crew, which launched the local site with an inaugural bash at The Kells club in Allston, plans to change that appearance with more Boston-area events.
It's "a roll-out," stressed Suchin, and more features are coming, like an interactive mobile plan. It's too early to tell whether College Tonight will be the next "evolution" in social networking, but in a city with a large college population that is underserved by nightlife, Suchin's vision of "interface to face-to-face" could at the least facilitate a date or two.
"The Night is Young" runs every Thursday. To submit event listings for all ages or 18-plus, e-mail Elisabeth Donnelly at elisabethdonnelly@yahoo .com or Jeff Miranda at firstname.lastname@example.org.