New social network site comes to life

Walking around campus, it’s common for students to run into people they may want to talk to, but they just can’t think of anything to say to them.

Thanks to enterprising freshmen Chuck Kelly and Ben Caprara, that could become a situation of the past.

Kelly and Caprara are co-founders of Buhz Hyve, a two-part social network composed of a mobile phone application as well as a central website.

For nearly two years, the concept of Buhz Hyve was just an idea in the back of Kelly’s head.

“Back then, it wasn’t Buhz Hyve — it was a technical name,” Kelly said. “I called it proximity texting, but bringing it to life back then wasn’t possible.”

He also said his access to certain technologies hindered his ability to develop the idea. 

“Application development from third party developers wasn’t mainstream and I didn’t have the resources of companies like T-Mobile and Samsung, so the idea just sat in my head for a long time,” Kelly said. “It wasn’t until the last few months that I really started to think of it as a reality.”

Buhz, the mobile phone application, will allow users to sign onto their accounts using their smartphones. 

From there, they can message their current friends and check their account, much like Facebook and Myspace. 

“Buhzing” will allow the user to see anyone within proximity of them -— Kelly and Caprara are aiming for 30 feet — and message them without needing to know phone numbers or usernames. The recipient of the Buhz will see a picture of the sender as well as meters like approval and similar interests.

“The meters serve several purposes and add a deeper dimension to the service,” Kelly said. “Similar interests will use a mix of different things from the user’s profile, such as class standing, major, music and movie preferences; this will determine what you might have in common with the people around you. Approval will be calculated by how often a user gets accepted when Buhzing and average conversation length.”

From this point, that person can either accept the conversation request and become “Buhds” with the sender or deny the conversation request. Kelly and Caprara plan to add more features on this aspect, but as of right now, this is the main focus of Buhz.

The Hyve — the central website — will be much like other social networking sites with a chat feature, music, fan groups and reviews. In addition to these amenities, users will be able see any Buhds that they might have missed during the day, allowing them a second chance to contact them.

The Hyve will also act as a digital sandbox for each user to create their profile, editing pictures, information, and interests. These changes will also be visible on the mobile phone application.

Like other social networking sites, Buhz Hyve is trying to differentiate itself from the rest of the digital pack. The creative duo is hoping that their innovative plans and unique approach to social networking will pay off.

“I wouldn’t say we want to replace them, but we aren’t trying to work along with them either,” Caprara said. “Social networks seem to have a rise and demise. MySpace was, in my mind, the first big social network, but within the last two years, it has been overtaken by Facebook. We’re trying to become the next big social network.”

The ambitious endeavor hasn’t been completely problem-free for Kelly and Caprara, however.

“Something like this takes a lot of work. We have a plan of having a beta app before the end of the semester, but I think in the next month or so we plan on having a better release date,” Caprara said. 

Anyone interested in helping with development or promotional work can contact Kelly or Caprara through Buhz Hyve’s Facebook page.