“You follow all of the different hashtags that represent your interests. It’s a really simple and streamlined process for organizing stuff.”
When you’re in college and have an idea for an app, there’s an 84% chance (all numbers approximate) that idea is a variation of Craigslist for college students. At least that’s what Ryan Bliss tells me, because he’s currently in college at the University of Utah where he began working on this exact idea. Before long, Bliss realized that everyone everywhere had already made this app, which I’m sure was a pretty sad comprehension. Was he ashamed of his creation? No way, Jose.
When somebody has a baby does everybody else get mad because there are already tons of babies on earth? No, they congratulate said baby-haver and then try to pinpoint the reasons this baby is unique. In Bliss’ case, he found a feature within the app that caught people’s attention, the ability for users to ping others connected by similar interests and location. He began concentrating on flushing that idea out and wouldn’t you know it (cue Eminem voice) that’s when the real app stood up.
“That little feature turned into what Hashtaggy is, basically categorizing topics based on various interests and pinging the people around you,” said Bliss.
Let’s jump into a quick hypothetical. It’s 2016 and I’m in college. Wow, my biceps are so big and the future has never been brighter! There is literally an infinite number of roads my life could take, instead of one gigantic highway leading to an enclosed office, two monitors, and pictures of my co-workers fishing. Floating on this immense feeling of possibility, I’m ready to meet some people and do some things. Real life things, the kind of things that require venturing into the world and partaking of its sweet, sweet fruit. I want to play basketball with random strangers and dominate them so thoroughly that they lose all sense of self-worth. I want to go eat at Chinese food buffets because they’re freaking cheap and also it’s a requirement for college kids to eat at least seven pounds of fried food per week. I want to grab coffee with my classmates and talk about skinny jeans to show how cool I am, which will definitely impress every girl in attendance and not be a huge turn off.
To accomplish my mission, I download the Hashtaggy app. I follow the relevant subjects (#basketball, #chinesefood, #coffee, #skinnyjeans) and before I know it, I’ve become a bona fide social butterfly. I can post activities under each hashtag, giving a time and location so the community can join in. I can see any posts from users sporting the same interests, so I know when and where things are going down that attract me. I swing from one activity to the next like some sort of tech-infused trapeze artist, flipping gracefully through the air before grabbing whatever appears before me. This is my hypothetical college life framed through the lens of Hashtaggy: “Real people having real experiences.”
“You follow all of the different hashtags that represent your interests,” said Bliss. “It’s a really simple and streamlined process for organizing stuff.”
Hashtaggy beta was initially released at the University of Utah in fall of 2015, where users were genuinely fired up about the idea. Using feedback from this run, Hashtaggy has been rebuilt from scratch and released as a newer, stronger iteration for the 2016 fall semester, again with a closed beta launch at the U of U. Prepare yourselves.