One business student has launched an interest-based website to connect people beyond their existing social circles.

When first-year agricultural business transfer student and entrepreneur Tasien Some immigrated to the United States from West Africa seeking a better life, he didn’t know how to speak English at all.

However, that didn’t mean he couldn’t connect with the people around him through other means.

While working at his first job at a car wash station, Some realized that common interests with his co-workers were a powerful agent that overcame all language barriers. The connections he forged through common interests gave him valuable opportunities.

With that, the concept of Ybann was born.

Ybann is a social platform that strives “to connect people, not only friends, but people, based on their interests,” said Some, creator of Ybann.

What makes Ybann different from other existing social networking sites such as Facebook is that it is exclusively interests-based. Users can connect with others solely based on shared interests rather than mutual friends or prior knowledge of each other.

“You don’t necessarily have to be friends with somebody in order to share the same interests,” said Some.

One of Ybann’s highlight features is its interest pages.

Interest pages can be of topics like fashion, music, sports, news or politics and also their respective subcategories.

Users can join these interest pages and contribute by sharing their own related posts or other related posts from their feeds on the interest pages.

Using Ybann’s Newsstand feature, users can also follow specific business or news outlets such as CNN, ESPN, GQ or People Magazine.

Additionally, Ybann hosts its own music functionality that is friendly to new, emerging artists. It provides a means for artists to create profile pages and upload their albums or songs onto the site.

Users can create playlists of their favorite songs they had discovered on the site, or use the Y Radio function and listen to songs uploaded by artists played continuously. The songs play in the background as users browse the site.

These different features blend together for what the website describes as a “seamless social media experience.”

The interests-based platform is designed for any user to use personally but can be especially useful for musicians seeking more exposure. Small businesses can also reap the benefits of Ybann’s services to promote themselves.

The platform was officially launched in December 2016 after about three years of development and testing.

(Courtesy of Ybann)

Presently, Ybann hosts more than 3,000 users.

Some has promoted the platform through word-of-mouth and through Cal Poly Pomona’s Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, which has expressed interest in helping Some establish a Ybann ambassador program to further promote the platform at CPP and other campuses.

Alex Gharapetian, a third-year political science student and member of TKE, says that a majority of the fraternity is currently active on Ybann.

Gharapetian met Some who introduced him to the platform, and he has been using it since December 2016.

He thinks that Ybann is a good way to discover new artists who aren’t well-known yet, which greatly benefits him.

“Especially for someone like me who’s always trying to find new music, it’s a cool way to do that,” Gharapetian said.

Gharapetian feels satisfied with Ybann itself but hopes that more people will join in the future.

For Marwan Metwally, a fourth-year business marketing student and another member of TKE, the platform is a pleasant combination of different types of social media applications.

“It’s kind of like a combination of Twitter and Facebook and Instagram all into one,” said Metwally, who has been using Ybann since January

Metwally believes in Ybann’s potential and thinks it will “really take off” once its mobile application is launched.

Both Gharapetian and Metwally recommend others to try out Ybann for themselves.

“No matter what your interests are, you’ll be able to find people to connect with [through] common interests,” said Metwally.

Some’s present goals are to promote Ybann as much as he can and explain to others how the platform works, hoping that they will understand the benefits of it and adopt it.

Some has maintained the site by himself so far, but also hopes to gather a team that can help him with improving and promoting the site, especially in marketing.

In the long run, Some anticipates Ybann will be able to reach people worldwide and help them connect based on their interests.

“My long-term goal is to improve it to a point where it can really be much more useful [and] bring more opportunities, not only nationwide, but globally,” he said.

Some is working on releasing the mobile application for Ybann for both iOS and Android devices, as the platform is currently only available on the web.

He hopes to have both of them launched by April 2017 at the latest.

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