Almnus creates three social network sites

April 10, 2008 — by Lyka Sethi

This story was originally published in the March 21, 2008 edition of The Saratoga Falcon.

Ever since his senior year of high school, 2006 alumnus Nikhil Sethi has been helping others “express the inexpressible.” Sethi has been creating innovative social networking sites where people can anonymously express themselves for the world to see.

He created his first website, www.ublot.com, in 2006. The site that allows a community of collaborative writers to produce works of literature called “blots” for anyone to read and add on to. The website gets about 100,000 visitors and users a month.

“When I created it, I felt like there was nothing out there similar to Ublot,” said Sethi, now a sophomore at Northwestern University. “It provides a new way for people to communicate and express their ideas and emotions through collaborative writing.

Junior T.T. Tu, who has an interest in creative and unrestricted writing, found this site several months ago and has used it a few times.

“I think Ublot is interesting because there aren’t any rules,” said Tu. “You’re free to write about anything, as long as it’s appropriate. You can create characters, stories and poems and see how others respond to them. It’s cool that you can add on to other people’s stories and they can add on to yours because it gives you a chance to interact and combine your creativity with people from all over the world.”

This site led to Sethi’s next idea of an online medium for people to send messages to each other. The site, called Blurtt, allows the user to create a card with images and messages on it, and sends it through the post mail for the user. This website is still under construction, but Sethi hopes to have it up and running by the end of this month. The site is part of an independent company that will charge a nominal fee for each card that is made, compared to his other projects which are non-profit.

“I call them ‘physical text messages,’” said Sethi. “They can even be sent anonymously, so an obvious example would be to send one to someone you have a crush on. You can even join or start groups to rally support for causes, for example, to gain support for a presidential candidate.”

His most recent project is www.inexpressible.us, a simple yet creative website that provides anonymity for anyone who wishes to express random thoughts and expressions through visuals or text. The site contains a listing of hundreds of postings of people’s expressions and ramblings for all to see. A year from now, these postings will be compiled and published in a book.

“This site is sort of like a confessional,” said Sethi. “No one knows who you are, so you can say anything within reason.”

Sethi hopes to continue his work with these websites as well as to broaden the scope of his work.

“I believe people constantly need new and better ways to communicate their feelings. If someone provides these means, people will use them—we’re social animals,” he said.

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