By Karen Ho
In 2017 people don’t talk about the Facebook and Twitter statuses they posted in 2009. They might regret the Internet trails that they’ve left with statuses about food and depressing song lyrics. Some may have lost some friends who called the final straw on their status spamming.
A solution to prevent that from happening again lies in Google Play and the App Store”an application called Dwink.
Dwink is a social networking app that officially launched in September 2016. The app was devised by a team of Cal Poly Pomona students led by Jason Chen, a senior transfer marketing student.
Dwink users can post quick text, picture or video statuses that close friends and family can view and like. But users can only display one status at a time, meaning once they post a new one, the new would replace the old.
Dwink combines the fleeting nature of Snapchat with the microblogging aspect of Twitter. It encourages a status-posting platform that is more suitable for family or a tight circle of friends.
Chen said that this approach allows users to share their lives with close friends and family in a way that is less committal or official than a Facebook or Instagram post.
“You don’t have to overthink when it comes to what you want to share,” said Chen.
Chen devised the idea for Dwink while he was eating at home. While he had wanted to post what he was eating online, he didn’t feel that it was important enough to post on Facebook or Twitter.
“Whatever I’m eating wasn’t really something that’s too relevant or exciting, so that’s when I had this idea,” Chen said. “I felt like I wanted something that’s kind of simple and easy, and whenever I’m doing something else, I can always just replace it.”
Ryan Smith, a fourth-year history student, is a member of the fraternity Pi Kappa Phi and a frequent Dwink user. Smith enjoys its user-friendliness and the efficiency Dwink offers for catching up with people in the short-term.
Smith said that he likes how he could stay updated with people quickly because of Dwink since users can only update one status at a time, unlike Facebook.
“A lot of people I feel go on Facebook right when they get home and they’re on Facebook for like 10 minutes just scrolling [and] scrolling, trying to see what’s up,” said Smith. “So I think [Dwink’s status updating efficiency] is one big advantage.”
Alycia Morgan, a third-year business marketing student, is a member of the sorority Sigma Kappa and one of the first few users of the app. She said that she likes the app because of its noncommittal nature.
“It gives the user the freedom to post whatever they want, say whatever they want, and then whatever they post next, it’s just a brand new thought,” said Morgan. “It’s kind of like wiping your slate clean.”
She also commented on the convenience it provides for viewing other people’s posts.
“It’s always fun because it’s a good way to keep up with someone else’s life or what they’re doing,” said Morgan.
The fact that these users are members of Greek organizations is not exactly a coincidence.
To distribute the app, Chen introduced Dwink to Pi Kappa Phi, where he was a member, and also to people he knew. Smith was a brother from Chen’s fraternity, while Morgan knew Chen through mutual friends.
Chen relied on the people within this network to share the app with their friends and expand its reach.
He wanted to use a group-centered approach to spread Dwink, since he knows that without friends using the app, users have no incentive to use it.
Chen said that friends and word-of-mouth are the best agents to spread the app around, rather than complete strangers.
He also promoted the app by hosting a little friendly competition among the Greek life organizations. Whichever organization could amass the greatest number of Dwink users received a $500 donation from Chen. The week-long competition gained the app a significant increase in users.
Dwink currently has more than 1,000 registered users.
One short-term goal for Dwink is to host more users. Chen wants to expand the app’s presence to other schools like UC Irvine, UCLA and USC, where other Pi Kappa Phi chapters exist.
Eventually, Chen hopes to expand to as many colleges and high schools in California as possible.
“We’re still focusing on marketing and [marketing] towards students because we believe that students are more engaged and active on social media,” he said.
Chen’s ultimate goal is to spread the app nationwide and not just in schools.
For now, Dwink is still a part-time endeavor, but Chen and his team are constantly working to improve the app. He encourages people to come to him for feedback.
“Any opinion is appreciated,” said Chen.
Courtesy of Dwink
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