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Whitworth Alumnus Launches World's First Social Media Internet Site for Books

Whitworth alumnus Josh Hug, '00, has launched the world's first social-media website dedicated to books. Hug's passion for books and web development was fostered during his four years at Whitworth, where he double majored in mathematics and computer science. After graduating from Whitworth, Hug worked at RealNetworks, where he helped to develop many of the applications used by people around the world to play streaming audio and video. Hug advanced to the position of director of devices at RealNetworks.

Hug recently left RealNetworks to launch Shelfari along with two other technology veterans. The three founders are bibliophiles who have extensive experience creating consumer products. Hug was instrumental in developing the vision for the Rhapsody DNA platform and assembling a team to deliver that vision. Kevin Beukelman, the company's chief architect, most recently served as designer and engineer for a music customization platform with RealNetworks. Mark Williamson is a co-founder of Shelfari and currently sits on the company's board of directors. He currently works for Dash Navigation and was formerly the director of product management and marketing within RealNetwork's music division.

Headquartered in Seattle, Wash., Shelfari features a powerful yet simple interface that enables users to build virtual bookshelves and establish social interactions based on the books they care about. For more information on Shelfari, visit

"People love to talk about books with friends and like-minded individuals, but it's close to impossible today to have a discussion about books unless people are in the same room," Hug says. "Shelfari brings back the social side of books, allowing friends to discuss and discover great books even when separated by thousands of miles. Not only can friends reunite with old friends, but they can discuss and discover books with new people who share their tastes."

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