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Website allows Columbus social media users to connect

Social media sites have become a main form of communication. Cbusr is localizing that.

Cbusr co-founder Matt Martindale saw opportunity in Columbus. When he came up with the idea for Cbusr, he was a Columbus newcomer who was having trouble making connections with people who he felt were similar to him. He knew there had to be a solution.

Cbusr offers an online database for people living in the area. The difference between Cbusr and other social media websites is that it encourages users to do less communicating online and more in person.

“We believe being a gateway to offline interactions is the better solution,” Martindale said in an email. “At the end of the day, it’s in our human nature to desire face-to-face experiences with other people.”

Some residents saw the potential for such a website.

“I moved to Ohio seven-and-a-half years ago from New York,” said Rick Gethin, Internet entrepreneur and Cbusr user. “I noticed there are very vibrant social and small business scenes, as well as an abundance of tech knowledge here.”

George Adams, a fifth-year in biology, said in an email that Cbusr exceeded his expectations.

“I was expecting to see a site where people communicate to each other online,” Adams said. “Instead, it’s meant to keep people off the site and meet in person. The only online communication is compliments.”

Members can browse the site by neighborhood, activity, new members and tags. Professions vary from students, designers and bloggers to magicians, artists and more.

Members’ profiles are identified using handles similar to those used on Twitter. Like everything else on the site, the handles transition to real life.

At Cbusr events meant to encourage mingling, members wear their handles on their name tags. Events are held monthly and vary by location in an effort to not only expand peoples’ social circles but also to introduce them to new areas of Columbus.

Currently, members can arrange to meet people outside of events, but must do so on their own.

Some users aren’t completely fond of the site.

“I feel like some people who are joining it, are using it as a dating site,” said Bobby Roberts, a local accountant and freelance writer and Cbusr member.

Adams, however, said Cbusr is a breath of fresh air.

“I think if it weren’t for Cbusr’s simplicity, this site would not have that uniqueness about it. I don’t go on the site often, but regularly I’ll hop on to see who’s new, who wants to meet me, and the new events that are scheduled,” Adams said in an email.

Chelsea Castle contributed to this story.

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