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Facebook started on a college campus, but has since become a familiar part of nearly everyone's online life around the world. OOHLALA Mobile Campus Community aims to create something closer to Facebook's roots, centering on university-centric activity, but is it really necessary in this day and age when we're already so well connected?
In shades of Facebook's past, users must register with a college or university email address to gain access to OOHLALA. What students will find within includes everything from campus maps and events to games, chat, and additional ways to socialize with fellow classmates -- at least in theory. The execution has less chatter and more echoes.
The school I tested the app with had a very minimal presence, though this may be the exception rather than the rule; your results are sure to vary by location and student interest. In my case, the last campus wall was from weeks ago and had zero comments. Campus events were up-to-date, yet had no check-ins or attendees. A single global game was available, but no local ones, though the in-app campus maps functioned well. A wide range of connectivity options are in place, but the ability to add classes was curiously MIA.
A lot of what's here feels like a rehash of Facebook's beginnings, though it's hard to see history repeating itself in this instance. Facebook evolved from that closed model for a reason, and OOHLALA doesn't give any indication that it will make such an exclusive premise more sustainable. Use the maps and events if you need 'em, but don't expect to find a new study buddy here.
The bottom line. A social network that isn't quite social yet, OOHLALA still faces an uphill battle to be a worthwhile download.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later
Campus map and events helpful for new students trying to adjust to school life. Groundwork is here for a potentially promising social app.
Unless other students are involved, it lacks sustained usefulness. Some features are missing or not fully fleshed out. Is this really necessary in a post-Facebook age?