Being stuck in quarantine doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t meet new friends. At least that’s what Pop Social Inc. founder and CEO Yoon Lee believes.
Lee is a recent management information systems graduate from UT’s McCombs School of Business. Just last year, he and his team launched Pop, a social app that aims to be a casual and hassle-free way for UT students to connect with others primarily through common interests.
He says this idea has been in the works since 2018, when he first noticed that many newer students, be it freshmen or transfers, had a difficult time finding a solid group of friends and feeling a sense of community and belonging. At the start of each semester, there is a time that Lee dubs the “golden window of friendship,” when clubs and organizations hold orientation meetings, meet and greets, etc. After those first few weeks, it becomes especially difficult for newcomers to join in and assimilate into already established groups and social bubbles.
Lee recognized how isolating and stressful this could be for students looking to find their community, especially at a university as large as UT. He wanted to help others out by extending this window of friendship.
“How can I solve this problem of loneliness and isolation that this generation is facing now more so than ever because of the increasing use of social media?” he asked. “I wanted to help people socialize better. I wanted to unconstrain these groups and pop social bubbles to allow for new interactions.”
And that’s how the idea for Pop came to be. Unlike other social apps or websites, Pop anonymizes users, freeing them of their social identity and removing unnecessary extrinsic factors so they can narrow in on their interests and passions and focus on connecting with others over those topics.