BROOKVILLE – Picture a 1950’s soda pop shop. You meet friends here to socialize in a safe place and to occasionally talk about problems over an ice cold milkshake or coke.
The place is clean and the kids don’t mind that the shop’s staff is one step away. The staff looks out for the kids’ best interests but never intrudes upon them.
Picture that same place only without the booths and the neon lights. Also, picture it in a different time period, but it’s still a cool place – a virtual safe space instead of a café.
This picture comes to mind for the creators of the newly-launched, Soda Pop App.
Their idea is fitting as there’s a set of 1950’s diner booths in the AGLogic office, which helped inspire the app’s name after 30 others were tried out. However, the app needed a name that was a, “natural extension of love of all things retro,” according to C. Scott Gilbert, one of the creators.
Recently launched by local company AGLogic, Soda Pop has been released in the Apple store. It’s being promoted as a meeting ground for sociability and safety.
Originally created in response to local, youth-based tragedies and upon special request, Soda Pop is set up to reach even more people. The team has daily webcasts and talks to classrooms of kids for app feedback. Its creators look at every review, as they get into an early stage for user feedback.
“Our hope is that Soda Pop will be an outlet to pain … our goal is that no person will suffer in silence,” said Gilbert.
Creating a feedback-friendly environment in which users can discuss and customize their own app plays a key role in providing this service, said Gilbert. He noted that the app can be re-branded with custom versions that are made for any group.
The app store can house groups with each having its own icon, name, information and branding. And, although the app is targeted to school- and church-based groups, it is open to anyone.
It can also be used by multiple groups that each user belongs to, such as sororities, bands and offices. This allows any single user to connect to multiple networks that can be kept separate and private.
Without any specific goals made public as far as comparison to their widely-successful weather app, the creators are instead focused more upon creating a safer social network. They’re utilizing privacy features, which are built into Soda Pop, while building onto its utility and allowing it to remain customizable.
Those features include a public trust key feature, which allows only people who have a key to use the network. It has a system of monitors specific to each group’s needs.
There is also a safe zone outside of the social aspect that stands as a place to find help in special situations. For this each team has its own policies and procedures to handle problem situations and can customize the protocol to the specific needs of their group. This, the creators hope, is providing more safeguards and privacy than typical social media apps.
Soda Pop’s aim is to offer privacy while keeping the social aspect fully intact: “We view the social aspect of Soda Pop as necessary,” said Gilbert. He emphasized that though socialization is key, privacy must accompany the social aspect.
“Showing stuff on Facebook is insanity. There are just too many people that can get your information,” said Gilbert. “The average person has no idea how safe their information is on Facebook.”
According to Gilbert, social media outlets are taking steps to provide increased privacy and protection. However, he said that this process can be confusing to users. He and his team created Soda Pop with this in mind and with the hope that it will provide similar socialization opportunities, while its privacy features and customization options will make it a safer bet.
Gilbert said utilizing privacy features and continuing to enhance the user experience will be crucial as the app continues to grow and develop.
For more information, please visit the Soda Pop Web site.