Jacob Rhinehart runs like a machine, repeating the same schedule day after day: wake up, go to the gym, read, journal, work and pioneer a new social media platform.
When Rhinehart first came up with the idea to create Hive, he had one goal: to improve university life by connecting students together on a social media platform.
In pursuit of that goal, Rhinehart, a junior business administration major, began frequently ranting to his friend, Eleanora Undrus, a junior computer science major, about his visions for the social media app.
“We used to hang out at late night times to a point that we would go into O’Brian, where he [Rhinehart] would write on the whiteboard his ideas and we would talk about it,” Undrus said.
Ideas turned into reality in June 2023 when the two students, along with Jordan Wang, a senior Computer Engineering major, began developing the app.
Similar to X, formerly known as Twitter, Hive users will be able to click on a button that allows them to create a post. Once the user is ready, they can post it to one of the three tabs: academic integration, social promotion or student expression.
In the academic integration tab, students can upload their class schedules and get placed within study groups based on their classes. Social promotion gives clubs and organizations the ability to interact with each other and promote their events. Student expression gives students a forum to communicate their ideas and concerns regarding the platform and university.
Rhinehart operates the business side by marketing the app to students. In an effort to get the app out to UB students, Rhinehart plans on promoting Hive by managing the platform’s Instagram page, posting flyers and working with other students in leadership positions.
“Right now, our goal is to start marketing within the next few weeks. Testing is something that we plan for the end of October or early November,” Rhinehart said.
According to Rhinehart, Hive will roll out testing to students who are in leadership positions or are active in the UB community through clubs and organizations. By giving selected students the ability to test the app, Hive can see what features students are or aren’t using, and how students break the rules while using the app. During testing, the team will also specifically focus on text messaging to ensure that the app’s security is well prepared before implementing photos.
Safety and security on the app remain a top priority. The team plans on working with the university to ensure that the app is a safe environment for students.
Undrus runs the technical side of the app as one of its two developers, and also aids in the app's design.
Undrus met Wang during UB Hacking’s hackathon event in 2022, where Wang was recruited by Undrus to work on Hive’s backend development.
“Eleanora and I bounce our ideas off each other. When she gets stuck or I get stuck, we rely on each other and keep up on each other’s coding,” Wang said.
The team envisions potential features to expand Hive, such as a marketplace where students can sell services such as hair and nail treatments. The team is also looking at ways faculty can use the app.
The trio plans on launching Hive to UB students on Android and Apple devices by spring 2024.
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