Raftr Support: August 13 Product Updates

Raftr publishes app and web updates every two weeks, adding new features, improving existing functions, and providing housekeeping and bug fixes as they arise. Here’s the latest summary of updates from this week’s new platform updates:

Android:

  • Added polls in group messaging
  • Added a customizable mute feature for chat channels
  • Added member management for chat channels – including members of private channels being able to suggest channel members for admin to invite
  • Updated the Create button at the bottom of the screen to have more options
  • Some fixes like the app automatically refreshing content when you interact with it in more places

iOS:

  • Added polls in group messaging
  • Added a media archive feature for chat channels, where you can quickly see all media shared on a given channel
  • Added a bookmarking feature for chat channels, so you can bookmark messages on any channel and see them together in the channel’s bookmarks list
  • Some fixes like the app automatically refreshing content when you interact with it in more places, removing the extra space on some chat messages, and reintroducing the unread count on the Messages button of the navigation bar

Web:

  • Added polls in group messaging
  • Some fixes including adding a popup to make it clear when you are blocked from interacting with content due to not being a member of the raft the content is on

Raftr Support: July 30 Product Updates

Raftr publishes app and web updates every two weeks, adding new features, improving existing functions, and providing housekeeping and bug fixes as they arise. Here’s the latest summary of updates from this week’s new platform updates:

Android:

  • Added a Poll option for posts
  • Added channel member list to channels’ info pages
  • Added channel member management for admin on channel info page
  • Some fixes for the filters on Events and Posts feeds and to the time selector when creating events or polls

iOS:

  • Added a Poll option for posts
  • Enabled members of private channels to suggest channel members for admin to invite
  • Some fixes for accessibility settings and navigation with calendar on Events feeds

Web:

  • Added a Poll option for posts
  • Added a media archive feature for chat channels, where you can quickly see all media shared on a given channel
  • Added a bookmarking feature for chat channels, so you can bookmark messages on any channel and see them together in the channel’s bookmarks list
  • Enabled members of private channels to suggest channel members for admin to invite
  • Some fixes for raft management settings 

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.

Top 10 Free Apps for College Students

StudyBlue

College students can save time, money, and paper (go green!) by creating decks of digital flashcards with StudyBlue. The app provides a familiar card flip movement while going through the deck, with added features that can help students track progress, discover which information they are struggling to retain, and the ability to share decks of cards with classmates.

Evernote

Evernote is the best way for college students to keep their notes organized and up to date. Users can create individual digital notebooks for every course, mark tabs, add photos, set reminders and more. To add the cherry on top, everything automatically syncs across all your devices so you can access notes anytime, anywhere.

Spotify

While there may be conflicting thoughts on whether music helps or hinders information retention, nothing is worse than auditory distractions that you can’t control. As the family in
`A Quite Place` discovered
, bigger noises are sometimes needed to drown out the smaller but more distracting noises, such as library chatter and roommate conversations. Spotify provides free unlimited music streaming access to users and offers a great student discount for premium services.

Grammarly 

As the saying goes – “Work smarter, not harder.” Grammarly is available on macOS, Chrome, iOS, and Android to help you be the best writer you can be. Not sure if you should put a comma there? Grammarly has the answer. It’s the perfect solution for those late night typos and grammar mistakes that are often and easily made. 

SelfControl

The internet and all it has to offer can easily suck up time and cause distractions and addictions, and while it is nearly impossible to break up with Big Tech in 2019, there is a short-term solution. Although only available on macOS, SelfControl allows users to completely block themselves from using websites of their choice for a selected amount of time. For college students who struggle with concentrating during online research and end up on BuzzFeed or YouTube instead, it may be the best solution. Just be prepared for the inevitable feeling of internet withdrawal.  

Venmo

🍕☕️🍻🎬🚙⛽; the list of things you might owe your friend or roommate money for goes on and on. College students today aren’t paying each other back via cash or check though, opting instead for digital payment methods such as Venmo, which offers fee-free instant payments between users. According to Forbes, 79% of 18-24 year olds have used a digital payment service at least once in the past month. Why? It’s easy to use, moves money instantly, and deters the classic “Sorry, I forgot my wallet” con.

Raftr

When surveyed, 70% of college students said they frequently miss out on campus events, simply because they didn’t know about them. Raftr can help solve this and other problems for administrators and students alike, by combining the hodgepodge of multiple campus calendars all into one simple to use, organized app with social features to boot.

Fooducate

While MyFitnessPal and similar health-oriented apps are great for counting calories and tracking exercise, Fooducate focuses on educating users about how nutritionally valuable the food they are eating is by providing a familiar letter grade for each product. College students can help combat the dreaded freshman fifteen by discovering which foods will get them an “A” and which will have them failing to meet their body’s needs.

LinkedIn

Why would anyone put 4+ years and thousands of dollars into a college education and not use it after graduation? With over 500 million users LinkedIn is one of the most heavily used profesional websites on the internet. Not only is LinkedIn a way to find or be found, but it can give users insight into companies they may be interested in working for in the future. It’s a great tool for college students looking for internships, a post-graduation job, or just looking to networking with professors and alumni.

Mint

For many college students, freshman year will be the first time they have to really begin taking responsibilities for their own lives, including their finances, and things can add up quickly. Mint is a great (and free!) financing app that lets users connect their bank accounts, student loans, credit cards, and more into one easy to use app. Students can create budgets for things they regularly buy, and reminders for bills they need to pay.

Raftr Support: May 14 Product Updates

Android:

  • Updated screens for creating and editing events and posts
  • Some fixes like a crash when opening lists on Explore and notifications opening properly

iOS:

  • Added topics for events and posts
  • Some fixes like showing notes for pinned posts on rafts’ Front Pages and chat threads updating when messages are edited

Web:

  • Update sidebars on app-level Posts feed
  • Some fixes like adding a popup explaining why you can’t create content in View-Only Mode and ensuring all events can load on app and raft level feeds
raftr team top apps

Top Apps to Check Daily, As Told By the Raftr Team

Whether for fun or for functionality, most of use some of the apps on our devices on a daily basis. Some apps help you get work done, while others provide a lovely brain break from that work.

Whatever their purpose, we asked members of the Raftr team to share their favorite apps to check daily. Here’s what they said:

NYTimes Crossword
I like doing the mini crossword, it’s a nice quick way to engage my brain doing something different.

Pulse Messaging Excellent 3rd party messaging client for Android, has great good widget support and good “Quick Share” functionality for sharing content from other apps.

Max McClorey, Raftr Product Developer

TikTok
It’s like Vine 2.0, but even better. I love seeing the original funny content people create and its a great way for me to destress at the end of the day and catch up on trends.  

Liz Penfold, Raftr Content Manager

Reddit
This app is a great tool to stay in touch with a bunch of different topics from all around the world. The funny thing is that you could find discussions on anything that you can think of, it’s great!, I enjoy reading my frontpage every morning.

Matias Maddonni, Android Developer

Podcast App
Every-time I look at it I see great content with different topics, entertainment, learning new things, comments about the last GOT episode.  

Carla Comunetti, QA Support

Pinterest
Beyond the daily grind of email, messaging, photo, audiobook, and fitness apps.. I check Pinterest the most – it’s fun to see ideas for DIY projects, food, etc.  When I need to decompress, I like that it inspires me to be more creative, so I don’t feel like I’m totally wasting time.

Hannah Bariteau, Product Manager

Weather Channel
I live in the Midwest, where the weather can change by the minute, so I check the Weather Channel app almost compulsively. Some time ago, they added an outdoor report feature that tells you the best time of day to get outside, which makes scheduling an outdoor run so much easier.

Mandy Seaman, Director of Growth

5 Tips for Using Technology to Improve Campus Life

college students using mobile appsCollege students are digital natives that live and breathe technology. According to IBM, over 65% of Generation Z claims to frequently use more than one device at a time. With hectic schedules, demanding classes, part-time jobs, and ever-evolving technology, today’s students are constantly looking for ways to connect with others and manage their lives. Here are five tips for using technology to connect students to your campus life.

Introduce them to your campus – before they arrive

Every university across the world has a unique campus life and culture, and every potential student is looking for something different from their college experience. Your website, social media accounts, and online groups will be most incoming students’ first impression of your campus. Make sure your first impression is your best, by ensuring your online platforms truly reflect the university’s values, diversity, and opportunities.  

Create digital communities

All students, especially those that are new to your school, are looking for ways to integrate themselves into campus life by finding their people and discovering new passions. The easier you can make this for them, the better! While student activity fairs are a great opportunity for freshmen to explore, upperclassmen and transfer students may be missing out. Whether through paid platforms such as Raftr, or traditional social media accounts, it’s important to give students a digital platform with information that can be explored all year round.

college students on cell phonesMake it easy and accessible

From ordering a ride on Lyft, to having a burrito delivered by GrubHub, students expect to be able to access everything from their phone, and your campus life experience should be no different. No one wants to walk across campus just to find out the library closed an hour ago or the event they were psyched to attend was canceled. Give students instant access to the information they seek, with minimal effort on their end.  (Make sure your information is up-to-date too.)

Promote events in familiar platforms

Gone are the days of designing, printing, and hanging flyers on corkboards around campus, just for them to get overlooked or covered. With so many different activities for students to get involved with on campus, it can be overwhelming to find groups and events that actually matter to them. By using technology, universities can create a more organized and welcoming campus life for students from the moment they set foot on campus.

Increase Transparency

Your students want to be involved, engaged, and educated about campus life at your university. Give them the information that they seek. Technology allows university administrators to create conversations about issues, reach out directly to students, and answer questions instantly. According to Forbes, the current generation has a “very strong B.S. meter,” seeking authentic information and direct, honest discussions. Whether those conversations are about opinions on the cafeteria food, the financial status of the school, or the scandal you’d rather ignore, creating an open dialogue will make students feel heard and more connected to campus.    

Raftr Support: April 30 Product Updates

Raftr publishes app and web updates every two weeks, adding new features, improving existing functions, and providing housekeeping and bug fixes as they arise. Here’s the latest summary of updates from this week’s new platform updates:

Android:

  • Added recent and suggested sections in Search
  • Some fixes, like improving speed in onboarding and enabling shared raft URL’s to open the app properly

iOS:

  • Continued refreshing rafts with updates to: – Private rafts’ front page – All rafts’ info page – Update pinned section on all rafts’ front page
  • Fixes including adding messages when attempting to interact with content on rafts you’re not a member of or when you’re in View-Only mode

Web:

  • Updated raft URL’s to include the raft name
  • Updated events and posts in feed views
  • Updated create event/post flow
  • Added ability to add topics to events and posts (Note: topics are not yet visible)
  • Some fixes including updating login button for anonymous users and enabling proper character limit for rules on rafts