Social discovery can be at its strongest when it combines like minded people with a location. And what better place than on a university or college campus. That’s exactly what the DownTo app is trying to do. With DownTo, most recently made available at UCLA, students can see quickly if their friends are nearby, what they’re up to, and make connections.
It harkens back to the origin of Facebook, which was originally exclusively for students at Harvard. And then expanded across other colleges across the country. We all know that expansion didn’t stop. Facebook grew into one of the first social networks, but in doing so lost that initial strong social discovery aspect it delivered to university and college campuses.
DownTo is an app that is recreating that original idea, with only those with a university email able to sign up. But it delivers its social platform with modern tech like location services. For example, DownTo, will automatically place students into a group chat related to the building and location they are at on the campus. It will also show you where your friends are on campus. It’s easier to make off the cuff plans with friends if you don’t have to have the awkward conversations about if they are on campus that day. You can see what friends are close by simply. It’s a bit like the appeal of Find My Friends we recently covered.
The app has been downloaded 16,000 times and has 2,000 active users. The app is set to launch across 40 different colleges in North America, including UC Berkeley and Indiana University. There is huge potential for social discovery apps in closed environments like universities and colleges. Many of these institutions have apps for their students to cover library services, gyms, safe walks home and more. The integration of social discovery on these apps could make them even more powerful.
Social discovery apps have the potential to be powerful tools that cover the world and the globe. But equally, there is so much potential for effective and powerful social discovery when the audience is limited, is niche and is narrowed down. University campuses have the potential to be one of the best examples of this.