stkbuzz

StocktonChatter

I attended Stockton College. As a CS student I spent a lot of time bored in computer labs, and I figured most of the other people in my classes were bored as well, so I thought it would be cool if there was some easy-to-use medium that would allow us to wallow in our boredom together. Thus, a prototype, named StocktonChatter, was born during summer 2010. It was a simple, anonymous, AJAX-y chat room. It never saw the light of day.

StocktonBuzz

The next iteration of stkbuzz - named StocktonBuzz - was created as a project for a web application engineering class during the Fall 2010 semester. It was more or less the same type of application as the original, except much more polished. It supported channel-based chat, a la IRC, and used some IP-address trickery to guess a user's current on-campus location, which would be displayed by any message that the user sent. This was essentially a finished product, but it never saw any use.

stkbuzz

Shortly after finishing StocktonBuzz, the semester ended, and I had some free time. I wanted to implement the idea of anonymous chat for real. I decided that a more persistent medium, such as a message board, would garner more use. So, in two marathon afternoons, I designed and implemented stkbuzz, an extremely simply (and sort of janky) PHP message board system that utilized the concepts from the previous iterations of the idea - it was anonymous, discussion was split into channels (boards), and users were identified by their locations wherever possible.

For a few weeks, the entirety of stkbuzz's posts were just my friends and I screwing around. I didn't think people would actually use the site, but just for kicks, I tried some guerilla marketing techniques - writing the URL on whiteboards around campus, leaving the site loaded in browsers in computer labs, etc. One day, people started posting. Then, out of nowhere, a lot of people started posting. It turns out that my viral marketing techniques were actually effective.

Things were great at first. The key thing to note here, however, is that the site was anonymous, and there were no reprecussions for posting horrible things; specifically, horrible things about specific people. I cleaned up the site where I could, but it was getting overwhelming, and soon enough the school administration caught wind of the site. They were not happy. After a month of maintaining the site, I had no choice but to take it down in February of 2011.

stkbuzz v2

I loved the idea of stkbuzz and I wanted to see it live. During the Spring 2011 semester, I crunched for about two weeks and completely rebuilt the site from the ground up. This time around, it wasn't anonymous - users would need to register with a Stockton email address, and a username (originally the user's real name) was displayed with every post. This version of stkbuzz was more like a typical social network than the original. Users had profiles and could subscribe to certain categories of posts.

Removing anonymity successfully eliminated the trash-talk that the original was famous for. However, it ended up being pretty boring. No one used it and it died a sad, lonely death.

Twitter funsies

The next semester (Fall 2011), I remembered I had created an stkbuzz Twitter account and started tweeting stupid crap from it. I was surprised to realize that I quickly accrued a fairly large fanbase. It was a lot of fun!

One more time

After graduating in December 2011, I decided for some reason that it would be a good idea to put the original, anonymous site back up. After all, I had graduated and Stockton couldn't threaten me anymore, right? I waited for the Spring 2012 semester to begin and promptly put the classic version of the site back online. Thus, ensued deja vu. I knew that the exact same thing was going to happen, and it did, but I persisted anyway. Does that make me a bad person? Probably. I even continued my guerilla marketing by getting a bunch of stkbuzz wristbands made and giving them to friends who still attended the school to hide around campus, throw at people, etc.

It was during this iteration that stk.fm was born.

After dealing with complaints almost every single day from the end of January through April, I finally decided to take the site down for good. It was time to move on.

I'm kind of a stupid person.