RIT students launch social networking Web Site for all ages

Move over MySpace and Facebook: There is a new player in the social networking game. This one, however, isn’t designed for teenyboppers and college students. RIT students Josh Olin and Ian Paterson launched mytimehero.com, a social networking Web site designed for people over age 30.

Its popularity has exceeded the expectations of both students.

“We have surpassed all of our benchmarks so far,” says Olin, a software engineering major from Fairport, N.Y. “We’re really excited to see where this can go.”

The concept emerged over a lunch Olin shared with his father, Greg. They were discussing a Wall Street Journal article quoting someone who felt uncomfortable, at his age, creating a MySpace account. Greg Olin asked his son if any such sites existed for people over the age of 30.

Olin didn’t know of any and decided to do some research. While he did find a few sites, Olin felt they were underdeveloped. At his father’s urging, he began to pursue the concept. Last summer, he pitched the concept to Paterson, his roommate.

“I was excited,” says Paterson, a computer science major from Chardon, Ohio. “I had been waiting for a project that could really get my career going.”

Both felt it was important that the site not just be for those over 30. They decided to encourage young people to nominate people in their lives who serve as a “time hero,” someone who has gained a lot of experience, and has shared those lessons with others.

“We wanted to offer the ability for young people to make a simple gesture that recognizes those heros,” says Olin.

Nominations can be sent via e-mail or in person. Each nomination comes with a certificate and a referral to the Web site, where the nominee can create their own profile, post photos, share their interests, blog about their experiences and search the profiles of others.

The site was launched, literally, out of the founders’ room in Computer Science House in one of the RIT residence halls.

“Living in Computer Science House has been huge,” Olin says. “We can be working on things late at night and if a problem arises, we can talk about it and draw on the white board. Plus, there are a lot of smart people around. If we’re not sure how to do something, we can always go and ask one of the other members.”

After a year, the two hope to have more than one million users registered.

“We just want to see how far this can go,” Olin says. “I wanted to learn entrepreneurship, and I think we’re off to a real good start.”

For more information, visit www.MyTimeHero.com.

The University Magazine, Fall 2007