With any luck, Hartwick College could be the alma mater of the world’s next Mark Zuckerberg.
Like Zuckerberg, Patrick Thompson, 24, developed a social media website in his sophomore year of college. For Zuckerberg, it was Facebook and for Thompson, it was MAD2.
Thompson, of Candor, said he got the idea for the social media website as a sophomore at Hartwick, majoring in economics and business administration and minoring in political science and finance. Thompson, who graduated from Hartwick in 2012, said his educational experience at the college encouraged him to take on the endeavor.
The purpose of MAD2, Thompson said, is to provide a social platform where people with similar interests and hobbies can connect.
But the website, which went live Nov. 1, is not just for socializing, Thompson said. It also helps people track down all kinds of relevant information on a particular topic of interest, he said. Members of the website, which is free to join, can buy or sell products, promote and find events and jobs, share videos, write articles and find local stores related to their specific topic of interest or hobby.
“Everything about a topic on one website,” Thompson said.
Thompson, who was on Hartwick’s soccer team all four years and was team captain his senior year, is particularly interested in sports, he said. An individual such as Thompson might be interested in finding a local store that sells rare soccer jerseys. MAD2 could lead him to such a store, Thompson said.
Thompson said the topics that are currently available to explore on MAD2 are: alpine ski, atv, basketball, beer, bmx, dirt bike, garden, golf, motorcycle, mountain bike, Nordic ski, photography, quilting, road bike, running, snowboard, soccer, swim, tennis and triathlon.
Thompson’s girlfriend of nearly eight years, Whitney Stephens, said Thompson has devoted a great deal of money and time to the project. She said he has been laying plans for the website with his uncle, Mark Dixson, for more than two years.
Stephens, a SUNY Oneonta graduate, said she thinks the concept for the website is a great one.
“It’s such a good idea,” Stephens said. “I can see guys especially really taking to it because, let’s face it, most online media sites are pretty much primarily frequented by girls. This site would give guys a better voice.”
Thompson said traffic to the website has been relatively low so far in comparison to other social media sites, but believes this will increase as more marketing is put into place.
“Organic growth was the initial goal,” Thompson said, “but some paid advertising will be coming down the pipes that we believe will be much more effective.”
Thompson said it’s difficult to attract users when there’s so much competition. But, he said, as soon as a base group of users establishes itself and begins to engage and create content, the website should take off. Once an individual becomes a member, he or she can contribute to the articles, videos and general wealth of knowledge available on the site.
“Content is king,” Thompson said. “Once you have a base of users to start from, life gets a lot easier. Right now we’re searching for that base group of users.”
Thompson has one thing Zuckerberg, reportedly worth $19 billion, does not: a college degree. The 29-year-old entrepreneur and Facebook CEO dropped out of Harvard during his sophomore year to co-found and develop Facebook, which celebrated its 10th anniversary on Tuesday, according to Business Week.
Stephens said she believes Thompson’s site will go far.
“I can’t wait to see more and more people discovering the site,” Stephens said. “I’m looking forward to watching it grow and evolve, as many other successful sites have, to where its users are able to define it.”