Have you ever really studied for an test or written a paper while on Facebook? Our favorite social network presents us with every distraction imaginable from checking the latest notification to photo-stalking a crush to using Facebook’s recently installed Skype feature to chat with friends. The decreased productivity leads some to deactivate their accounts during exam weeks or days with heavy work loads. Three undergraduates from the University of Texas at Austin have a different solution: a Facebook app that allows you to find, connect, and collaborate with people working on the same subjects you are.
How it Works:
The CEO of Hoot.Me, 20 year-old Michael Koetting, states that the app “puts Facebook into study mode.” With real time messaging and Tokbok-hosted video calls you’ll still be chatting, but with a whole different crowd. To find a specific subject, Facebook users can either start a new thread or join existing ones. From there, you can connect instantly through TokBok’s OpenTok platform or through typed chats.
Hoot.Me takes user experience seriously, with a math button to optimize typed math equations and formulas. In addition, Hoot.Me admins sometimes join discussions to provide support for new users. The app is also universal, allowing for any Facebook user to theoretically connect with another, regardless of “friend” and network status.
In the Future
According to Paula Bernier for TelePresence, CEO Michael Koetting “captured the hearts and minds of the audience and panel of judges at StartupCamp, an ITEXPO East co-located event that took place in a large and busy room at the convention center in Miami.” Koetting’s presentation of Hoot.Me brought home the winning title, as well as contacts from a number of large potential partners such as Kaplan. A key factor in Koetting’s appeal appears to be his plan to monetize the application by charging students a fee to use online tutors. An average session would cost $3.59 (bargain cost, for tutoring), and only 1.4% of the sessions would have to be paid to sustain the unpaid portion. From Hoot.Me’s auspicious start as recipient of $25,000 from DreamIt Ventures (a tech mentorship program), we can only expect to see more forward progress from this productivity-boosting app.
Images taken from: Facebook’s Hoot.Me app