“We believe that the purpose of social media has been lost,” says Victor Loolo, boldly. The recent Brown University graduate laments the loss of authentic connections through an oversaturation of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat: “What was once a tool to facilitate social connection and interaction has now become a form of isolation,” he continues. “People hide behind their screens and curate identities with decreasing authenticity and without engaging with one another in person.”
When Loolo was a student and football player at Brown, he found it difficult to branch out beyond his fellow athletes to form friendships; turns out, he wasn’t alone. During a party, Loolo met and commiserated with newfound friends (and soon-to-be business partners) Blessing Ubani, Husam Salhab, and Sophie Chen. Together, they brainstormed the idea for Tagg, a new kind of social platform created for and by college kids.
“Tagg puts the focus on people as opposed to content, creating more genuine connections,” Loolo explains. The Tagg team began with interviews and focus groups, which validated the need for their concept, and soon came product mockups (by RISD student Chen) and programming (by Ubani and Salhab). The result is a sleekly designed mobile app that lets you link your other social accounts, highlight hobbies and interests (including badges for groups and clubs you belong to), and ultimately connect with potential friends, study partners, and even dates. It’s people- rather than content-driven, says Loolo, and users will find elements inspired by Pinterest, Tinder, and VSCO.
Since the app’s launch at Brown in early February, its user-base has grown into the thousands. “We have a waitlist that is growing every day,” says Loolo, including Ivy League universities and others across the northeast. Most recently, in mid-April, Tagg debuted at Cornell, and Loolo hopes eventually to see the same happen at college campuses nationwide.
“We created Tagg to connect our community, and then witnessed firsthand as the pandemic drastically increased the need for virtual assistance in building social networks,” adds Loolo. “[It’s] a true community-driven platform built by a team who grew up with social networking. We know what it does; we know the bad parts of it and we know the good parts,” he says. “We also know the impact it has on people, which is why we have built our platform to promote inclusivity – with no judgements.”
Download Tagg for iPhone in the App Store, and stay tuned for updates on