How’s it twisting?

Michelle Ferrand

Last August, while most students were getting acquainted with their new schedule, two FAU students — Brandon Forschino and Patrick Daleen — were launching a website specifically for FAU students to post pictures or videos about what’s going on around campus. Since then, they have expanded from FAU to seven other universities in Florida and the Midwest, and they plan to keep branching out.

But it’s been seven months since their launch, and their user count is less than anticipated or desired, according to one of the founders.

“Last time I saw, we were at 1,370 [users],” junior business major Forschino said. “It’s definitely less than we expected.”

CollegeTwist is a website where you can upload photos, videos and post upcoming events onto a calendar for your respective university. When you first sign up, you create your profile with the option to post a photo of yourself and choose the university you go to, and what organizations or fraternity/sorority of which you’re a part. Unlike Facebook, your homepage is made up of photos, videos and events from anyone in your university’s network, not just people you’re friends with. You also have the option to start a discussion thread in each photo album posted.

“We’re really trying to make an official college network where students can understand what’s going on, on and off campus,” Forchino said.

Since CollegeTwist just recently expanded their website to other universities, such as Florida State University and University of Illinois, Forchino says FAU makes up around 75 percent of the users.

“Really the first bit of the semester was spent unifying the advertisement campaign and getting everyone on the same page,” Director of Campus Operations and senior marketing major Kristin Alspaugh said. “Another reason I think we’ve been so slow is because we didn’t have a street team [before].”

Even with their user count lower than expected, CollegeTwist has released an iPhone app, which was funded by investments made from a private company, this past Wednesday night, March 7. On the first night, Forchino says about 20 people downloaded the app, but within the past week, they have had over 100 downloads. As for an Andriod app, Forchino says they are still fixing up some things and should be released soon. The apps were created by James Devrys, vice president of technology, along with the site’s web development team.

Alspaugh says the app will feature an infrared map that will show how many people are at events or at different places around campus. And with hopes of reaching 4,000 users by the end of the spring semester, Alspaugh plans to start advertising in the on-campus dorms by meeting with RA’s and having them put their events on the site to promote CollegeTwist.

But they must be doing something right because it seems like the word might be starting to spread.

“I actually just read about this today on a pamphlet from the College of Business,” junior French major, Michela Ekowo, said. “I think it’s really innovative and creative and I would probably use it.”

Matt Montoya, junior hospitality management major, helped promote CollegeTwist from the beginning and has been a user on the site since the start.

“It’s a great website for college students and high school students to find out what the school is like,” Montoya said.

Forchino says he hopes they can keep reaching out to student organizations and Greek life to gain more users. He also says they plan on making each homepage for each university more personable by putting up landmarks specific to whatever university’s homepage you’re on. He also hopes to have 1,000 more photos posted on CollegeTwist by the end of this semester. This way, he says, more users will see more photos and user interaction, and probably upload content themselves.