Encouraging discussion between parties can be difficult in today’s society, but three students at Iowa State are looking to change the game with their new social media app, Yabble.
Cameron Stocker, senior in statistics, said the idea for Yabble came from the desire to see more interest-related content.
“The idea stemmed from frustrations with current social media and how people interact on it,” Stocker said. “[...] You can’t really just go to a feed and only see the content you want, so we wanted to come up with a platform where all of our posts are divided up into different categories.”
Yabble is a free app composed of various discussion categories such as politics, sports and entertainment. There is also a “hypothetical” category, which consists of fun would you rather questions or creative ideas that spark discussion. The hypothetical category is the most popular at the moment, Stocker said.
“The whole point of the app is to be able to go somewhere and talk about your personal interests,” said Gant Orloff, senior in marketing and co-creator of Yabble. “I think a lot of people in current social media are looking for new trends. We’re hoping to take advantage of being the new thing that everybody wants to check out.”
In today’s political climate, discussion has become very negative between parties and individuals. To combat that, the creators came up with an alternative form of sanctioning thoughts on their app. Rather than having a like button for individual posts, Yabble has a like button for conversation, known as the “Yabble button.”
Users cannot be recognized for an individual post like they can on other social media outlets. In order to have their post be “Yabbled,” they must create that positive and pensive conversation between parties.
“You can’t make people have the conversation you want,” Stocker said. “Our idea is really just to promote thoughtful discussion and build up that positive community early on. I think we’re in a great spot starting up in Ames with a great crowd that can build up the community we envision.”
Creating the app posed challenges to the three students, as they had never learned to create that type of software.
“I hadn’t really done any app development for Android or iOS, so it ended up being a lot of research,” said Jordan Cowen, senior in computer engineering and co-creator of Yabble. “We explored various options [...] and looked at online tutorials to get familiarized with how to make applications.”
The layout of the app is similar to Twitter as it’s organized by tabs with a home page, profile, categories and notifications. The home feed is filled with posts from people you follow, but the categories will show posts from all sorts of users and not just limited to your specific followings.
A new feature to come to Yabble is the ability to filter the home feed to eliminate certain topics that may not meet the user’s interest.
“A large part of what we’re doing is for the political content, but we recognize that not everyone wants to engage in that,” Stocker said. “We want to make it beneficial to those people that don’t find that interesting.”
Yabble was launched on Jan. 28 and is available in the App Store for iOS and Android users.