Boredatbutler is back, but it’s not just for Butlerites anymore. A while ago, founder Jonathan Pappas, CC ’06, relaunched the site as BoredatColumbia, in conjunction with duplicate sites at a whole host of not-quite-as-bored schools across the country. Recently, he added listings, which may just fill the void of Dogears and supplement Facebook and Craigslist for your random shit/spontaneous hookup needs.
Bwog had a few questions for the man behind Columbia’s id, posed and answered via e-mail.
How and why was boredatbutler originally shut down? What have you been doing in the interim?
Boredatbutler was never actually shut down. Last January, Columbia approached me and asked me to discontinue using the Columbia Crown for the site’s logo after someone complained to the administration. It was not a problem and I made the change accordingly. After I graduated, I continued to run the site out of my tiny Harlem apartment until Silicon Valley dragged me from NYC. I spent the whole summer out there building and playing around with the concept of anonymity, meeting some really cool people in the industry, and evolving the site into what it is today: boredatcolumbia.net.
I noticed the network page–why did BoredAt catch on so strongly at Harvard? How have you been reaching out to the other schools?
That’s a really good question and I still can’t really say for certain. But yeah, it’s really popular there… over 330,000 posts. It might have something to do with the fact that the curriculum is so demanding while there are only a few outlets to de-stress or safely express what’s really on students’ minds. Anonymity is a powerful thing and Harvard seems to really get that. I haven’t done any reaching out to students per se, it’s still very word-of-mouth and students seem to just find it.
Are you hoping to make a profit off the operation of these sites? Do you have a staff, or is it just you?
The sites don’t make any money right now. Money has never really been a priority for me, otherwise I would have created a social network that collects and sells personal information, but that’s lame. Sure, I’d like it to make money someday but it’s not the focus right now. I’m just having fun and seeing where it takes me. It’s not just me anymore; I have small team of professionals and independents in California who love the project and the philosophy and have helped me build it into what it is today.
Why would a CU student use these listings, rather than Craigslist?
Craigslist is very broad and available to anyone who wants to post. However, Boredat Listings is just for Columbia students: only Columbia students can post or reply. This creates a safer environment to post anonymous personals, rants and raves, missed connections… all that fun stuff, and you wont have to worry about a sketchball NYer interfering. Really, the only other option is Facebook’s marketplace, but your name and your identity are always attached to your activity, and everyone you know is alerted when you post something. This sucks. What if I want to sell my dirty old mattress? Does everyone I know really need to know that? What if I wanted to post a help wanted ad for a tutor for my intro-level calc class? Do I really have to tell all my friends I’m an idiot? What if I want to post a personal looking for a cute girl to grab some coffee? Well, that’s just impossible. You get the picture.