While listening to the dull hum of nothingness on the fifth floor of the Harold B. Lee Library, an unbearably bored BYU student sent a witty text message to a friend. It read: “where in the HBLL are you?”
This cynical joke sparked the idea to create whereintheHBLLareyou.com, a website that allows its users to see the location of their Facebook friends, classmates and fellow students in the library.
Chase Petrey, a political science major from South Jordan, had no intentions of starting a website but said he felt the concept was too good to ignore.
- Lost in the library? Thanks to a new website, you won’t have that problem anymore.
“I thought it would be sweet if you could actually find all of your friends in the library,” Petrey said.
He soon proposed the idea to Tyler Slater, a senior neuroscience major from Gilbert, Ariz., because he needed someone with the necessary programming skills to build the website.
“Tyler was crashing our ward break-the-fast, and I overheard him talking about how he wanted to rebuild Blackboard,” he said. “I knew this was the type of person I needed.”
Petrey recounts that Slater rolled his eyes when he first presented the idea to him, but he soon bought into it after a little convincing.
“It’s essentially a geographic virtual chat room,” Slater said. “You’re in the same location, and you may not know each other but are still commenting on things happening around you.”
Yet they insist there is much more to it than a website for boredom-inspired virtual socializing.
“Finding people in the library is such a small part of it,” Petrey said. “The site name and map are the novelty, but the goal of the site is to create a central hub online for BYU culture.”
One function of the site they want to highlight is how it helps students connect with people in their classes. They say they believe it will be useful in helping students form study groups and build relationships with classmates.
Upon entering the site, the user will place a dot on the location where he or she currently sits within the library. They can then look at the map to see where everyone else is. The red dot is yourself, green are Facebook friends, blue are classmates and yellow are people you don’t know.
Marianne Braithwaite, a biology major from Lindon, was bursting with joy at the chance to use such a tool.
“I like that I can always know where my crushes are studying,” Braithwaite said. “I am now a dedicated user.”
But it is essential that a large body of users join the website to make it work. It’s no fun stalking your crushes if they aren’t on the map.
Surprisingly, the innovative creators of an intimate social media website have resorted to old school ways of advertising. They printed a few business cards with clever sayings like “Be chill my soul” and “Marauders map? Yes, please,” and left them in various areas of the library hoping to catch the attention of the average social-media-addicted BYU student.