Have you ever wanted to give someone a compliment, but have been too nervous to go up to them? Have you ever wanted to say something to a person on campus who has caught your eye?
As of last week, University students can give each other anonymous shout-outs and compliments on uMentioned, a new and unique social media site.
Joining uMentioned allows users to post comments to their friends, their campus or anyone in their surrounding area. It mixes anonymity with identity, as users can choose whether they want to remain unknown or openly post comments under their own identity. This unique feature enables uMentioned to stand out among rival social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
uMentioned was created by Ade Labinjo, a Canadian college student who was inspired by a Facebook page where a person posts to an administrator who posts the comment anonymously. He wanted to create a website of his own, and launched uMentioned in March of 2013 to 10 Canadian universities.
From there, the website grew exponentially. This past Thursday, uMentioned was launched for the first time in the United States at 24 universities, one of them being Villanova. On its first night, the site gained 110 users at Villanova, with 50 more signing up the next day. Students have been expressing themselves on the site by posting compliments, questions, confessions and thoughts.
The website’s launch at Villanova has been especially exciting for Christopher Travers, a sophomore computer science major and entrepreneurship minor. Travers made it his mission to bring uMentioned to Villanova after getting involved with the company last spring.
Travers had an idea to create a college Craigslist where students could buy and sell belongings. He did a lot of research on other startup companies and came across uMentioned. Travers started tracking the company after he became interested and inspired by their unique mission.
He ended up contacting uMentioned via email. Today, he is the American marketing head for the website. He spends a lot of his free time promoting and improving uMentioned, which has quickly become his passion. He also helps with debugging and ideation.
Travers works diligently every day, inspired by the possible connections that could be made by people who might otherwise never come in contact with one another.
One unique feature of the site is that it allows users who have posted anonymously to another user to chat, all while the poster remains unknown. If the users decide they want to reveal themselves, they can choose to share who they are to the other users.
This feature has allowed for real life connections to be made between users who have formed long-lasting relationships and friendships. uMentioned is different from accounts like Villanova Crushes and Villanova Compliments because they do not allow users to connect to the person who posted about them. This site is also different from the dating app Tinder because users do not have to “like” one another to begin a conversation. Anyone can post about any other user on the site.
New users can even mention their crush on Valentine’s Day, and possibly even start a conversation with the person that has always caught their eye.
uMentioned is currently focused on making connections on college campuses, but is trying to shift to include nearby areas as well.
Although posts may remain anonymous, uMentioned has made it their mission that nothing negative is allowed to be posted on the site. Harassment is not tolerated, and users that post offensive comments will be suspended or banned. Opinions are encouraged but bullying is strictly prohibited. The user community can flag negative comments they come across as well.
Categories on the site that users can post in range from compliments, confessions, relationships, spotted, overheard and even Greek Life.
The Greek Life category could be beneficial for Villanova students involved in Greek organizations, especially for sorority members to contact their littles during big-little week, because users could message their little without revealing their identity. Although users can post in different categories, all comments show up on the same news feed.
New users are immediately immersed in the uMentioned community and do not have to build a following, unlike other popular social media websites.
The site’s increasing popularity could also connect the entire Villanova community, instead of splitting everyone between class year Facebook groups. The site could be used to promote events on campus and create larger turnouts.
Travers is looking to get members of the Villanova men’s basketball team to join uMentioned so students can give the players compliments and praise before games.
Currently there is not a ton of content on the site, but Travers is excited for more students to join and post, which will create a more interesting and busy news feed.
Anyone can join uMentioned as long as they verify their identity through their college email address. The social media site is free and is available as an app for Android and iPhone, as well as online.