New social media app aims to share events in real time
Many different social media apps allow students to connect, but a new program aims to combine their most attractive features into one central program.
Bivid, a mobile application available on the app store, takes elements from Yik Yak, Snapchat and Instagram, creating a 24-hour video and image stream, said Dean Glas, co-founder and chief executive officer at the company.
“Every time you open Bivid, you’re going to see things that you know are happening right now. These are things that have happened within the last 24 hours,” Glas said.
Glas and his fellow co-founder, Mendy Raskin, first met in New York City. Both were dissatisfied at the lack of an application that provided a real-time, feed-based on location.
“We always wanted to be connected to the places that we’re in, New York City especially,” he said. “You’re walking around and there are so many things going on, and you really don’t feel connected to the place."
Bivid also aims to address the flaws of many other image-sharing and location-based apps, such as Yik Yak.
Yik Yak’s original use was more like Twitter or like a local discussion feed. But as the application gained more followers, the content quickly devolved. Yik Yak became harmful to students, leading to incidents of cyberbullying and harassment, Glas said.
“You have no idea who you’re talking to. Anyone near you could be talking about you and saying mean messages,” Glas said.
To reduce the risk of harassment, Bivid offers chat rooms, providing a messaging platform that avoids the anonymity of Yik Yak.
“We want to create complete transparency within the community, letting people know exactly who they’re speaking to, to prevent bullying,” Glas said.
Anonymity grants the ability to express true emotions, said Angelee Serrano, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student.
But Yik Yak has a trade-off with situations in which people gossip about how others look, use racial slurs and even say something negative about a professor, Serrano said.
Even if the platform can lead to some good it really did more harm than good and the consequences of cyber bullying have led people to commit suicide, Glas said.
"An estimated 5.43 million young people in the U.K. have experienced cyberbullying, with 1.26 million subjected to extreme cyberbullying on a daily basis," according to the Diana Award Anti-Bullying Campaign.
Additionally it can be challenging to limit what can be said and navigate the app, Glas said.
Officials have trouble striking down on bullying because their entire business is about being anonymous. Especially with the hyper-connected millennial user base, people can often overstep boundaries and make hurtful statements without facing the consequences, he said.
Yik Yak enables users to say harmful things to other people, said Vanessa Collini, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
Bivid also sets itself apart from other social media platforms such as Instagram, Glas said. With Instagram, users cannot share full vertical videos and the photos are not always relevant to what one might be interested in.
Combining the multimedia benefits of Instagram with the stream-of-consciousness style updates of Yik Yak could mean Bivid could last "forever," he said.
Snapchat is the most similar app to Bivid, but the latter has no location-based services, Glas said.
Serrano said one of her favorite features of Snapchat is the ability to take on-demand videos wherever you go. She primarily enjoys watching other people’s Snapchat stories.
Bivid's features do not exist as a whole in the marketplace right now, which is why he created the app to take the best of each currently existing social media, Glas said.
Glas said he was raising awareness about his product at Rutgers when a parent stopped to speak with him. She was walking her first-year daughter to orientation.
“This can be a great tool for new students to meet new friends (and) see what’s happening on campus,” he said. “No matter where you are in the world, you will always feel connected to the places that you’re in.”
Bushra Hasan is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in cell biology and neuroscience. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @Hasanabanana for more.