CampusNetwork, an internet social network first launched in the summer of 2003 as SEASCommunity.com, was the first student-run online community dedicated to connecting users on college campuses.
CampusNetwork, a predecessor of Facebook, was created by two Columbia University sophomores, Adam Goldberg (who was student body president of the university's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)) and Wayne Ting (who was the class president of its liberal arts school, Columbia College). The site launched as SEASCommunity in August, 2003. The site offered its original users a unique forum to exchange ideas, to showcase artistic expression, and to connect with other students. It eventually expanded to the entire university, and was renamed CUCommunity, and quickly became an important source of social-interaction for its members eventually connecting over 75% of the Columbia undergraduate population.
It became the place for the campus community which allowed greater individual control, communities compromise social arrangements where individuals learn by participating. SEAS was arranged for students to interact and participate together. All of online communities lack physical presence which influences and changes norm behavior.
In Fall 2004, facing growing pressure from Facebook at Columbia, but sensing its superior product might still win out if it were able to expand as rapidly, CUCommunity relaunched as a national social working site, CampusNetwork.
Users could create personal homepages (e.g. user.school.campusnetwork.com), post journals and photos. While it never took off as well as its main competitor, Facebook, as of 2005, it had the second largest number of registered users among college networking sites. CampusNetwork allowed users to create publicly accessible homepages. Today Facebook is a social leading network site similar as SEAS it allows people to share ideas and is driven by a small group. This is one of the popular sites, the one with the most visitors every day, it has heavy usage among the young adults about 65% between ages 19–21 visit the site daily. Undergraduate students suggest a strong association between use of Facebook with strongest relationships. It provides greater benefits for users experiencing low self-esteem. The site can be related towards work context, romantic relationship, and connecting with those with shared ideas. It serves a big community (the campus), it is a tool for individuals who have difficulties maintaining a strong relationship. Young adults leaving to college leave friends behind and need to create new networks at college, they tend to add to Facebook since it does not exclude particular groups instead it accumulates which identifies why people adapted to Facebook leaving behind SEAS. SEAS was created as a place to centralize events for members of the class 2006, users could upload favorite photos and discuss issues. It was relaunched in 2004 as CUCommunity and later relaunched again as a social network site called CampusNetwork in fall 2004 but it failed again to gain attraction.
With a peak of 240,000 users, the site was closed in February 2006. There is much speculation as to why the site was shut down; however, none of it conclusive.
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- Chris Beam, The Other Social Network: How CUCommunity lost out to Facebook, Slate.com, 29 September 2010.