When an expected crowd of 40,000 music festival goers descends on a historic area in downtown Starkville, Miss., Friday [Nov. 2] for Bulldog Bash, one start-up company headed by an MSU alumnus is hoping to make social media history as it launches a new site called YeHive.
The concept for YeHive is a blend of features from other social media platforms with some distinct characteristics that set it apart and may appeal to thousands of users who want to connect through events. The platform is centered around events - anything from a music festival or a football game with large crowds to something as simple and small as a birthday party.
Users will not be limited by the others they follow or like. Instead, they can create any event or search for those created by others. Once they "check in" to a specific event, they may post photos, videos and text.
Company co-founder and chief executive officer Brad Fuller said the site runs through Amazon Cloud EC2, which he said will provide the site with dependable server function and rapid scalability.
A 2004 Mississippi State agribusiness graduate, Fuller's career path has taken him to Washington, D.C., where he served as a professional staff member for Sen. Thad Cochran's office and worked on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. He returned to his hometown of Starkville in 2011 to work with his father as a federal lobbyist. He said he has focused on YeHive's pending launch since brainstorming the company this summer with co-founder Gary Butler. Butler also is founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Camgian Microsystems Corporation.
Since July, Fuller said more than 40 software developers have built the platform in preparation for the early November release.
He noted that starting Nov. 2 the site's mobile app will allow those attending an event to immediately participate in "the buzz" as they post and see their content scroll through the event timeline. Likewise, someone unable to physically attend an event, still may gain the experience through viewing the real-time postings.
"It's doesn't focus on a person; it focuses on an event," Fuller said. "But if you're having a birthday party, your grandmother in Seattle can see what's happening throughout the party even though she can't travel to be there in person," he explained.
The company's motto is "Be there." Fuller said he would have loved YeHive when he lived out of town and missed attending home football games at his alma mater.
The YeHive homepage will feature the top 20 events in the nation, determined by the greatest number of users checked in. Users also may use the "events near me" function, which utilizes Google maps to show events in proximity.
Fuller said he expects that if the site gains users as he hopes, the YeHive concept could impact how breaking news is shared. For example, in a breaking news incident, anyone could create an event and those witnessing or involved in the event could share photos or comments.
The site includes a profanity filter and will be monitored for any inappropriate content.
In the midst of launching the site, several features already have been added to the wish list for the second version. Fuller explained that he hopes users will be able to create private events sometime around Christmas.
YeHive is among the young business tenants occupying a newly opened business incubator at Mississippi State University's Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park. As a tenant, YeHive has benefited from support through the university's Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer, which provides assistance with business planning and marketing, among other services.
Last week, Fuller previewed the site to MSU business students, asking them for feedback and support.
"I think the site is very creative, and I think it's really going to go somewhere," said Kimberly Singleton, a junior management major. "It's like having Instagram and YouTube put together."
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