You have 446 friends from colleges across the country. Four of them live on the West Coast and attend Stanford University. Two of those four are also elementary education majors. Nine of them go to the University of Texas. A whopping 63 attend colleges in the tri-state area, Rutgers University being the leader of the pack.
On a daily basis you exchange kisses, hugs and even presents with them. You even chalked up the nerve to admit your crush on that pretty girl that you wanted to date in high school. And guess what, she likes you, too! You’re a stud. No one can touch you. Everything is great.
There’s only one catch: you’ve never met 75 percent of those 446 friends. XUQA.com makes it possible for college students across the country to make friends with students in other colleges, “blog” about any topic that tickles their fancy, admit to secret crushes and send cyber gifts.
XUQA isn’t the first site of its kind. It follows in the footsteps of such sites as facebook.com and myspace.com. However, XUQA has new features not yet available on other sites.
Those features include the option to upload entire photo albums from a student’s personal collection, as well as to post messages on each individual student’s scrapbook.
“The features are great,” Jeffrey Katz, sophomore music major, said. “But, the greatest part of the site is finding people with similar interests in music and movies.”
Not every student seems to share this sentiment.
“All people know is what genre of music you are trying to model yourself after,” Cody Rounds, freshman fine arts major, said. “There’s no possible way you can get to know a person over the Internet, especially through a site designed to help people hook up.”
Whether or not the student body agrees, XUQA is a growing phenomenon. Over 500 students from the College already have accounts and are actively involved in the online community.
“I think XUQA is still in its infancy,” Jason Thul, senior English major, said. “It could become as widely used, if not more so than Facebook. In fact, if they continue to improve it – it is still in beta – it probably will be really popular.”
However, as with all Internet social networks, there is a certain degree of uneasiness over the safety of providing detailed information to any college student across the country.
Although the site requires a college e-mail address, the apprehension still exists.
“It’s nearly impossible to know who you’re really talking to and how much of the stuff someone is saying or posting on their profile is actually true,” Kasey Wilson, freshman journalism/professional writing major, said.
Wilson also admits that she’s nervous about pursuing friendships formed on XUQA beyond the Internet.
“I’m a little weary about that,” she said. “Meeting someone through XUQA could potentially put someone in a really dangerous situation.”
When asked about his concern with Internet safety, Thul said he is confident in the Web site’s registration methods.
“I’m not really concerned … all that information and more were always available to anyone when I was on America Online.”
Essentially, XUQA is designed to enhance campus communities and promote an even larger scale of nationwide student connection.
Sometimes, XUQA can even reunite long lost friends.
“It’s fun to find a friend that you haven’t talked to in years.” Katz said.
The facts still exists: 75 percent of your friends are still only cyber buddies. However, these presents you collect online can never collect dust. The pictures won’t yellow with time.
The beauty of the Internet lies in the accessibility of it all. Whether it breeds lifelong bonds with fellow students or just transient connections with cyber friends, students affirm XUQA is here to stay.