I know you have seen the new Match.com commercials that advertise that 1 in 5 people meet online. Well, today NPR reported on a social media site, RoommateClick, that is picking up in popularity as a way college freshman are now finding another type of mate – their roommate, if you couldn’t tell by the title…
I thought it was an interesting concept, and like the article says, a specified version of Facebook. Although, keep reading… RoommateClick has a privacy feature a school can select to use that does not allow individuals to have profile pictures. WHAT!?! I immediately thought, why? And of course, drum roll….. because of discrimination. OH, discrimination, no one wants to be discriminated against. So I understood, and thought it was smart. And then I thought it was moronic, and that it felt like yet another effective tool started from the failing point that would only get worse.
OK, so isn’t the entire point of picking a roommate – even the entire process of picking a roommate itself – a discriminatory one? The article reports that, “With RoommateClick, schools can customize the site’s features to try to curb misuse. Rutgers doesn’t let students post profile pictures, to prevent discrimination based on factors like race or sexual orientation. And RoommateClick’s parent company, Lifetopia, monitors students’ profiles for offensive material. But Vice President of Sales Bill Schneider says there’s no foolproof way to prevent discrimination.”
I will make my point simple and short. If I could have picked Latonya from Dallas, TX on the fourth floor to be my freshman roommate because I knew she looked like fun, acted like fun, and had similar interests like me, then I could have had one extra-crazy and fun year of school. God knows that if I was able to see that a guy I might have also got along with was gay, it would have made coming out in college a much easier transition. But I guess that would have been discriminatory…?
So come on, RoommateClick. If you really want your product to take off, stop thinking like a 68 year old conservative school admin. ‘Cause that’s so five minutes ago.