Microsoft is entering the social networking business with a new system that's aiming for the college student demographic. The company has announced that the So.cl (pronouned "social") service is now live but only for a limited number of students. At the moment, only student enrolled at the information and design schools at the University of Washington, Syracuse University, and New York University can use So.cl but more schools will be added in the near future
The Microsoft Research blog site has more information on So.cl, which is a product of the company's FUSE Labs. It states:
So.cl has been designed for students studying social media to extend their educational experience and rethink how they learn and communicate. They can build posts with many elements—photos, video, text, and more—and share them with colleagues. They also can find students with similar interests and build communities around specific educational goals. So.cl might even give students the ability to create their own social tool, customized for their own community.
The So.cl service is not designed to be a replacement for other social networks such as Facebook or Twitter. One of the creators of So.cl, FUSE Labs' Lili Cheng, stated, "We expect people to continue using their favorite social network and search tools, and we hope that, by experimenting with how search and social networking can be combined, more people experiment with tools we already take for granted."