Dear Alaskan friends kept my social networking sites lively last month with news of a 5.8 earthquake near Anchorage, pictures of signposts in Fairbanks showing the temperature as -40° (yes, you’re reading that right), and wishes that they were at a poolside somewhere in the tropics. Far from the action, there’s no one around me to share my Alaska concerns. In my own way, I’m also wishing I were At The Pool.
At The Pool is a social networking site meant to help introduce people to others – not just their electronic profiles – with common interests. Unlike platforms where it’s on users’ shoulders to connect, At The Pool introduces members to a new person each day. Introductions are made based on four factors: location, history, interests, and intent (or pools).
The aim of At The Pool is to help members meet locals who love what you love. This of course requires meeting people who live within a reasonable proximity and possess a a similar background or interest. And we might all gather at the pool looking for something different. Pools might be formed around shared characteristics such as a school, hobby, skill you intend to learn or want to keep practicing.
We already have Facebook, Twitter, Google circles, dating sites, and activity platforms galore. Depending on how users take to the site, At The Pool has the potential to combine some of the better qualities of these other hangouts and facilitate members forging new and lasting relationships. Despite all our technology, finding people with whom we can build true friendships remains challenging.
We may all be connected online through our work, but we often have no idea about who’s living next door to us, which neighbors share the same passions and pastimes. Our mobility, changing work environments, and increasing time spent online all make escaping our little reality bubbles that much more difficult.
At The Pool was inspired in part to offer a solution to the conundrum that our bustling Internet social lives actually make us less social. Use those tablets and mobile devices to arrange a meeting, then turn the power off. Have company other than your laptop join you at the coffee shop for a change. Play that game of racquetball you’ve lacked the partner to play.
Naturally, this startup was born in Los Angeles, where locals know how to host a great pool party. Founder and CEO Alex Capecelatro is a UCLA graduate. He previously worked at Fisker Automotive, Aerogel Technologies, and Web Ventures. The team is working broaden the platform beyond the daily match function. Recent added features include activities, updates, and notifications, responding to early users’ requests for the ability to organize events and discuss meetings onsite.
Launched in July, At The Pool has already made a splash across the states and in 50 countries. Clearly people share a desire to use their existing pools (online and off) to swim in a greater social waters.