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Saturday, June 12, 2021

UF graduate creates social networking site for colleges

Shawn Joseph is looking for buddies.

Not just for himself but for every student at UF and colleges nationwide.

Joseph, 25, a recent UF graduate, is the founder of, an interactive social networking Web site that allows users to post and browse events happening at their school and community.

Joseph said it’s a sort of Facebook-meets-Craigslist idea that he thought of in January and debuted at UF two weeks ago.

While anyone can join BuddySurfing, Joseph divided the site into collegiate users and other users for safety and security purposes.

Social networking among college students is different than networking among other groups of people, he said, and their events should be kept separate, as well.

Joseph said bulletin boards plastered with fliers are an incomprehensible mess, and handouts from the Reitz Union Colonnade and Turlington Plaza most likely end up in the trash. But BuddySurfing allows organizations and individuals to promote events on a well-organized site.

Users simply choose their networks from a list of nearly every college and university in the country, much like choosing a city on Craigslist.

Then the users can browse through events that are separated into two categories — work and play — which Joseph said is how college students define their lives.

Work listings may be Student Government events, job opportunities or tutoring sessions, while play events could be anything from parties and nightlife to personal ads.

Users can link events to their Facebook statuses to get their friends involved, he said.

Joseph said his biggest regret as an undergraduate student was not taking advantage of all the events UF has to offer.

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“This place is a gold mine for social activities, and you don’t realize that until you’re gone,” he said.

Joseph is the site’s only investor and said he spent a few thousand dollars to get it running.

He graduated Spring 2008 with a degree in biochemistry, and he has a strong background in computer science.

He worked for a year and a half in stem-cell research at Shands at UF and will start a graduate program this Spring in pharmaceutical chemistry at UF.

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