Raftr Support: Creating, Building and Managing Rafts

It is easy to create a raft, but the real fun comes from building a community. Rafts can be created by anybody on Raftr. We provide tools to customize, build, and manage your community; this is a big responsibility, but it is very rewarding. It is important to keep your raft vibrant and attract broad membership; we delete rafts that do not achieve this to free up their names for others that wish to take on this responsibility.

To create a raft, use the + button on the bottom of the screen, which is used for creating all new content in the app, and select the raft button. (This feature is currently only available on iOS, though we will be introducing to Android and Web soon; in the meantime if you are on one of those platforms, please contact ask@raftr.com for help creating a raft). Once you’ve done so, the only required inputs are a name, a tagline, an icon image, and a designated category/ topic. You must select only one category and topic, but you can elect to create lots of tags which will help people find it. The name of the raft must be unique, so if the name you choose is taken, we will ask you to modify it. Additional, optional settings to customize your raft can be set at time of creation and/ or added or modified at any time later. These are important to understand because they will help set the tone of the raft and determine how many members you attract.

After you create a raft, you can attract new members in several ways. We will help by featuring it in Explore upon creation, and in Search when it has at least ten members or at least ten actions in the last month. In addition, we offer tools for you to make sure its appearance is appealing and vibrant, and that you actively manage members, content, and communication.

As creator of the raft, you are designated as the raft’s leader (RL) and this comes with various rights and responsibilities. You get to select co-leader(s) and curators, as well – how to do so is noted below. Together a raft’s leader, co-leader(s), and curator(s) are it’s “raft admin”. The info below delineates the responsibilities and rights you and your selected administrators have:

Appearance and rules management (look and feel of your raft):

  • Change name: Leader
  • Change icon: Leader and co-leader
  • Change tagline: Leader and co-leader
  • Add/ change description: Leader and co-leader
  • Add/ change rules: Leader and co-leader
  • Add/ change welcome message: Leader and co-leader
  • Add/ change cover image: Leader and co-leader

Member management:

  • Rafts always have (exactly) one member with the rank of leader – the person who created the raft has this rank immediately upon creating it.
  • In addition to the leader of the raft, a raft may have unlimited co-leaders and curators – leader, co-leader, and curator are the three admin ranks available in all rafts
  • In the raft’s settings, you will find the member management option – where you can promote or demote members into/ out of these ranks.
  • You can also release any members from your raft in member management, which is helpful for keeping safe communities.
  • The admin rights hierarchy follows:
    • Promote, demote, release any member: Leader
    • Promote to curator or co-leader rank, demote from co-leader or curator rank, release any member except Leader: Co-leader
    • Promote to curator rank, demote from curator rank, release any member except leader or co-leader: Curator

Content Management:

  • There are two ways to manage content on your raft: pinning posts and its privacy settings.
  • The raft’s leader and co-leader can change privacy of the raft, which determines both whether the raft has membership limitations and also how visible its content is to non-members.
  • Pinning posts is a right available to all raft admin. This can be very useful to promote an event post or highlight something funny, interesting, or informative so your members don’t miss it.

Beyond these tools and rights, it is important to set an example as an active member of your raft by posting, chatting and encouraging your fellow admin to do the same. All reactions, comments, replies, and votes tallied from your created rafts contribute towards which content is trending throughout the app; and all posts will appear in the “Popular” Posts feed which helps discoverability. It is also important to spread the word to attract new members that will help you make the raft more fun and engaging.

In keeping with this, if a raft has been inactive for three consecutive months and has fewer than 15 members, we will automatically delete it to free its name up for others that would like to use it and build the community.

Raftr Support: Creating and Managing Events, Chat Messages, and Posts

Creating content – to share an event or a more general post, message people, or create a raft – is quick and easy with the + sign on the tab bar. When you post an event, you can also “cross-post” it, which is cool because then it can be seen on multiple rafts, reaching more people; and events, posts, and messages all have other fun options to make them more interesting.

To create anything, you’ll start with the + button in the center, base of the screen. This button is used for creating any new content in the app – events, chat messages, posts, and rafts. You can either start by choosing the type of content you want to create, via the buttons in the top half of the create button’s opened circle, and continue with more options for enhancing your content; or, if you are creating an event, post, or chat message, you can start with the buttons on the bottom of the circle, which are shortcuts to the enhancements: a photo/ video stored on your device, a new photo or video taken with your device’s camera, a gif from Giphy, or a link. If you start with those buttons, you will later choose whether to include those in a chat message or a post. Check out our other blog for more information about creating and managing rafts.

Creating Events and Posts

Whether you start with the event or post buttons, or one of the enhancement buttons, once you’re on the screen for creating your event or post, all those enhancement options will be available, as well as a couple more:

  • Photo/ Video: This option is for choosing a photo or video that is already saved on your device.
  • Camera: This option is for opening your device’s camera to take a new photo or video.
  • Giphy:This option is for choosing a gif from Giphy’s collection.
  • Event:This option is adding an event – with a title and start time.
  • Cross-Post: Cross-posting events is a great opportunity to get information to the most people with the least effort
    • When creating an event, you have the option to “cross-post” it to certain rafts, so that the post will be seen by more people.
    • This feature is used to let people know about events and free food opportunities.
    • When an event is cross-posted, it will be seen by everyone who is a member of the raft where it was created and/ or the raft(s) the post was cross-posted to.
    • If someone is a member of more than one raft that event is posted/ cross-posted to, they will only see it once in the feeds on the Events screen.
    • When someone chooses to cross-post, that event will then be visible publicly, even if it is created on a private raft; non-members of the raft it was created on will be able to see the post if they are a member of the raft(s) it was cross-posted to.

Creating Chat Messages

Raftr offers both direct messaging (private chat between you and one other person) and group messaging.

  • Direct Messaging – To message someone in the app you have a few options, with any of these options if you choose to send a message to someone who is not yet following you, it will be sent with a “request” for you to message them, which they will need to first approve before your messages show up on their Messages screen. If someone has sent you a request, you will find it to the right of the word “Direct” on your Messages screen, below the list of rafts you are a member of.
    • Create button’s message button: If you use the create button, then the message button, you’ll be shown a list of suggested people you may want to send a message to; or, you can use the search feature there to find the right person
    • Create button’s enhancement buttons: If you use the create button, then any of the enhancement buttons, you’ll be taken to your Messages screen; once there, tap the + in the upper right corner to find a list of suggested people to send a message to, or search for the right person
    • Messages screen: Tap the + button to find a list of suggested people to send a message to, or search for the right person; or, if you have sent or received messages from someone you follow already, you’ll find a list of conversations below the list of rafts you’re a member
    • People’s profiles: If you are following someone, the “follow” button is replaced by a “message” button and a checkmark (if you tap the checkmark, you will stop following them); tap that message button to send them a message
  • Group Messaging – All rafts have at least one chat channel for group messaging; these channels on public rafts and flag the content.

Raftr Support: Joining and Discovering Rafts

Once you find rafts you like, you may join them to become a member. Membership will allow you to participate in its chat, create and comment on posts, and get other members’ posts in your feed. It’s easy to leave if you decide you no longer want to have its posts in your feed or to create content. To leave, go to the information section of the raft (touch the “i” in the upper right corner of its front page) and choose “leave raft”.

All the rafts you have joined will appear, for easy access, on your profile. You can discover new rafts to join throughout the app:

  • Explore can be found on the tab bar at the bottom of all screens. This page profiles various groups of rafts and/ or people for you to explore based on what we think is some of the most interesting content being produced or the most engaging conversation happening across rafts created in the last seven days.
  • Our Search box is at the top of the Explore screen. If you have a particular topic that interests you, you can type it into the search box. Search offers suggestions and remembers recent searches you have made to facilitate finding what you are looking for. In addition, it offers filters to narrow the results down by top (the default), rafts, people, or tags.
  • Other people’s profiles show a list of rafts they’re a member of.
  • The Popular option on the Posts feed shows posts for all rafts which are public or private with open content. You can tap the raft name on any post to go check it out.

Raftr Support: What’s a Raft?

A raft is a community formed around something you care about. Rafts are places where members can see what events are happening when, find out what others are talking about, connect with people with similar interests, and join in on interesting conversations.

There are two types of rafts on Raftr and several different privacy settings for member management and content accessibility. The first type of raft is those that are curated by our team or the colleges we partner with (official) and the second type is those that people in the app create and curate (user-curated).

Official rafts are denoted by a checkmark for authenticity. They are loaded with interesting content and conversations. These are rafts that are generally curated by someone in the administration in your college or university, who makes sure events and content are complete and comprehensive. Students can also post and chat on these rafts, and also co-lead them.

Rafts are generally organized in the following way: they consist of a “Front Page”, that shows the rafts’ members (and admin) and recent raft activity. All rafts also have pages for messages, posts, and events; some official rafts also have a blogs page.

You can contribute content in three ways:

  • Reacting to posts, either by selecting an emoticon, writing a comment, or up-voting or down-voting another person’s comment. These interactions all get tallied in our algorithm to surface which rafts, posts, and people are trending throughout the app.
  • Creating posts and events. This is a great way to share events or your thoughts and ideas as the stories on your rafts advance each day. You can personalize and illustrate your events and posts with photos, videos or GIFs. You can also share links to external content by either pasting a link you copied elsewhere or, if you are on an iOS device, by using the share button in the app where you found the content and sharing directly into Raftr.
  • Chatting live with other members of your raft by selecting the raft’s messages page, or finding its channel on the Messages screen (via the button in the tab bar that’s always at the bottom of the screen). Chat messages can include emoticons, pictures, videos and GIFs, too.

Raftr Support: Creating Your Account

To create an account on Raftr, we use your verified .edu email address (and a password) to keep the experience safe and the discussions as authentic as possible.

Raftr’s vision is to be the most student-centric social platform on campuses, where students feel a sense of belonging: welcomed, well informed, and connected. Using your verified, .edu email address works well to ensure authenticity, and avoids the commonplace problem of some people setting up multiple accounts, under different pseudonyms, that may be used for spam or harassment.

Raftr Support: What Is Raftr?

With Raftr, you can discover events happening on campus, find student groups that share similar interests, and make sure that you’re the first to know when there’s free food to be found on campus. If it’s happening on campus, it’s on Raftr. And if you’re on Raftr, you’ll be there.

Our mascot is a sea otter. We chose the otter because sea otters are very social animals that often eat and rest together while floating in connected groups. A group of otters linked together like this is called a “raft”. Rafts can include hundreds of otters connected with one another by holding paws. We see this as a metaphor for the conversations and connections students make with each other in communities formed around common interests, ideas, clubs and sports.

Our mission is to offer the most trusted, discoverable, easy-to-use, and comprehensive social media environment. By verifying your .edu email address, you will have access to a private experience where you can form deeper connections with classmates and keep current with campus events. This is organized around your interests, and is specifically relevant to your college, unlike other social media. In contrast to flyers or word of mouth, Raftr works in real-time, so you don’t miss things happening on campus.