October 23, 2012

Cornell Students Hope New Networking Site Will Make Calendars a Social Tool

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With new technologies revolutionizing the way students socialize on college campuses, a bevy of undergraduate entrepreneurs at Cornell hope their recently launched website will become an influential part of social media in the future.

A group of 16 undergraduate students, including 14 Cornellians who range from freshmen to seniors, started uJiiV –– a social networking site designed to help users manage their calendars by integrating events between multiple social media sites. The site, currently restricted to invited guests, will open to the public in a few weeks.

uJiiV’s founders said that, through their website, they have found a way to turn calendars into a social tool.

For instance, the site allows users who have created their own calendars and events to synchronize them with and subscribe to their friends’ calendars, according to Jacqueline Neves ’14, one of the site’s co-founders.

uJiiV — pronounced “jive” — was inspired primarily by other social media sites, Neves said, comparing the new site to Facebook and Twitter.

“Facebook is where you can advertise to the world what you have done and where you have been. Twitter is where you can advertise what you’re doing right now and who you are with,” Neves said. “uJiiV is where you can advertise, organize and publicize where you are going to be, and coordinate for people to join you there.”

Neves said she and her team envision the development of the site as the “natural progression of the social networking age — past, present, future.”

“uJiiV [will] dominate the future,” she said.

Neves, who is currently studying abroad in France, said social networks were crucial to her ability to keep in constant contact with the uJiiV team to make sure the project stayed on track. Despite living in separate continents, she and her fellow team members successfully created the website.

“[The long-distance collaboration] shows why a site like uJiiV, that allows you to connect with your circles of contacts easier, is necessary in the digital age,” Neves said.

Though the site is still under development, the team spoke about the website’s future with confidence.

“Although we are still in the early stage, we have a dedicated and talented team, who are working together to make our site as useful as it can be. [Our team includes] driven, ambitious entrepreneurs who have a clear vision for what uJiiV can be in the long term,” Neves said. “We intend on taking our business to the next level.”

Lauryn Andrews ’14, chief of marketing and business administration for uJiiV, said the team is already working on the next steps for developing the site.

“Part of our plan is to make uJiiV a mobile app. Linking uJiiV profiles with mobile devices will definitely make it more convenient for people to create schedules and add events at any time,” Andrews said.

Natalie Kim ’15, an information science major and a teaching assistant for a computer science course, said she was not sure that uJiiV is a particularly new idea. She noted that other websites and applications already offer calendar syncing services.

“In terms of the premise of the site as a whole, I’m still not sure I understand exactly what it offers that Google Calendar or Facebook does not,” Kim said. “Since Facebook has events that you can create and invite your friends to, what is uJiiV offering that is different?”

Still, Kim said the project is the kind of innovative work in technology and business in which students should engage.

“I think it’s amazing that Cornell students are trying out new things and coming up with new ideas,” she said. “The fact that these students put the time and effort in to formulate this idea and actually create a website for it is very admirable.”

Original Author: Yidan Xu