A new year, a new app hits college campuses. Over the past couple of years it feels as if there is a new trending app every year. Instagram, Snapchat, Yik Yak just to name a few. My sophmore year in college, 2013–2014, a new app called WiGo hit the app store and was popular for some colleges. WiGo, short for who is going out, was a way for friends on your college campus to notify you if they were going out or staying in. As a member of the app you could even invite other friends to go out with you. However, the catch to this app is it wasn’t avaliable to all colleges but had an exclusive frontier of colleges it was open too. The popular app came down from the app store around 2015 and the original founder, Ben Kaplan, decided to go in a different direction.
Kaplan decided to create and x-rate Snapchat named Yeti. However, it has been facing a lot of back lash after scandals have been surrounding the app such as sexual assualts being documented and posted for the public to see. Yeti currently is a way for students to see what is happening on campus, a way to connected with people, explore, join communities, and share pictures anonymously. Although the idea is great I feel there is many things the app can do to improve its usage and avoid horrible scandals. Also, recently the app seems to be in a downward spiral and less people are using it due to some recent changes made to the app. There are many ways Yeti could change their app to help improve and revamp their reputation. I plan on providing some examples on how Yeti can get back on its feet to becoming an app college students want to use.
“The university has received numerous complaints from students, parents and other members of the university community about degrading, insulting and mean-spirited comments posted by FVSU students on the social media web site, Yeti. Some comments constitute harassment and cyber bullying and express an attitude of discrimination that is in total opposition to Fort Valley State University policies, and may be violations of state and federal law.” — Dr. Baily (Fort Valley State University)
Change for Yeti
A couple reason why Yeti has become unpopular is due to the app changing their format so you can no longer view other schools images, users felt this was the best feature of the app. Also, Yeti has some guidelines that are not enforced which has made the app really controversial. My goal is to combined WiGO and Yeti to form an app for college students to help socialize on a clean level of fun. Yetis, or users, would have the ability to check into a college party or event through as hashtag. Also, they could invite their friends to this event through the hashtag. Also, tell their friends where they were going for the night.
The first revision Yeti must make to survive but also to ensure they do not face legal issues is to create more definitive guidelines and enforce them. Although, some may say that is part of the fun; it needs to be cleaned up. Snapchat would be a great model of community guidelines to take on. On Snapchat you can not have pornography, nudity or sexually suggestive content, invations of privacy, threats, harrassment, bullying, or spamming and lastly no impersonation. Setting these guidelines and enforcing them will enable students to have clean and friendly fun on Yeti. Also, it will create “friendly interactions with newcomers to particular community members and will discourage hostility toward newcomers who make mistakes.” Students would not want to join a community where they feel as if they are being harrassed or hostility. Therefore, implementing these rules will help ensure newcomers to become part of the community.
Another complication Yeti has currently run into is people in the area of the colleges who have been classified as middle aged perverted men have taken over the app and have corrupted it into their own porn site. This corruption has ruined the app for college students, taking them off of it. A way for Yeti to regulate this issues is to have users sign up through their college email. This will ensure that college students are using the app and not random locals who are using their location to hack into a college campus app. This feature would help attracted new users too because now newcomers aren’t sharing their content with strangers but rather an enclosed college community and their friends. “Making it easy for users to share content from a community site with their friends” creates and external communication where new members will want to join. College students enjoy being part of the college community and Yeti would be another way they could interact with their friends and community.
Yeti could use campus ambassadors to spread the word of the app. Word of mouth recruiting has been noted as the most productive way to recruit members. The app could especially reach out to school groups such as sororities and fraternities because they are always hosting events. The greek life could utlize the app as a way to get people to be interested in their events on campus, and in exchange Yeti would be getting new users as well people utlizing the app. Currently, they have a feature where you can view a community through a hastag, as pictured on the left. This would be a great way for school groups to spread what they are doing around campus. This organization on the app helps carve out niches for people. These niches can attract all different types of members will help ensure that the app caters to all groups of college students.
Yeti will have features such as being able to see other college campus stories, a feature that was recently take off of the app. This will ensure the community structure branches into a larger community from an original limited scope of Yetis. Another feature that would be built into the app would be push notifications. Yetis would have the ability to favorite their close friends or people they like; to be notified if they are going to an event on campus. These notifications would be reminders that their friends are still using the app and for them to circle back to it if they stopped using it. A feature that needs to be removed is the Up Vote, Down Vote feature. Like Yik Yak, currently on Yeti you can Up Vote posts you like and Down Vote post you don’t like. This filtering feature creates the possibility of something very irrelevant to be Up Voted, just because Yetis thinks it is very stupid. They should have an administrator or an algorithm for the newsfeed based off what people have liked in the past. Something similar to Facebook or Instagram. This will “help people navigate to spaces that best suit them” on the app.
Yeti will be able to retain newcomers by adjusting their current app. Allowing groups to create hashtags to their events will help ensure to subdivide the spaces ultimately making users more active. The more organized the space the easier it is for Yetis to navigate what they like and to avoid what they dislike. The online community also would have an algorithm to show events or parties that suite what they have enjoyed in the past. This will provide the app to always show what the user will have interests in allowing them to utilize their time and their enjoyment. Another essential ideal that will help retain newcomers would be to force Yetis to sign in with their college email. This will make sure that they are actually college students on a campus and not a random creep in the area. Providing this security will allow college students to feel more part of an exclusive community but also will help avoid creepy situations that they have experienced in the past on the app. In conclusion, I feel all the changes proposed will shape Yeti into a more acceptable and durable app that college students will enjoy with their friends.