Choozum: Philly app developer goes all in on ‘social decision making’

social decision making
Choozum’s brand of social decision making in action. (Credit: Facebook / Choozum).

People – especially young people – are increasingly turning to social media to seek answers about everything from what they should wear on a date to where they should go to college.

One Philadelphia businessman is seeking to capitalize on the development, so much so that he’s trademarked the term “social decision making” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

“We knew we wanted to do something in social media and we wanted to something that’s a logical next step,” said Michael Rizzo, whose free smartphone app Choozum encourages participants to vote on user-submitted multiple choice surveys.

“You’ve got one-eighth of human beings on Facebook sharing, inviting each other to events – so many activities are happening – but very little are you actually leveraging that base to help you do things.”

With Choozum, Rizzo seeks to do just that, syncing with Facebook so users can share surveys and invite friends to vote.

“If you want to ask your five favorite people where you should go vacate or where you should go eat tonight or whatever, all of those people are going to get a notification on Facebook within a half-second of you posting on Choozum,” Rizzo said.

“However long it takes to see the notification and get a response back, you’re going to get statistics calculated very differently than anybody else it doing today.”

Demographic differences

Rizzo said various age groups tend to use the app in different ways.

“What we’re finding is the younger side of our demographic – say, 16, 17 – they’re really not private. They like to do things publicly,” Rizzo said.

“They like to show off their new hairstyle, they like to show off the new dress they’re buying or their new favorite One Direction album. They love that pop culture stuff and pop culture, just by virtue of the word ‘popular,’ is not private.”

Older users, in contrast, tend to seek input exclusively from people they know, according to Rizzo.

“As people come onto the app and start realizing that there is this capability that allows you to ask a bunch of people something privately, not post it in a public community – maturity and evolution factor into that,” he said.

“I think as the popularity of Choozum grows, we will start seeing people using it the way they use email – ‘Who wants go to for happy hour tonight?’ – and blast it out, instead of sending out five or 10 emails and having to gather the responses and do the math. In less than one minute, you can do a survey, all the statistics are cultivated and – boom – the choice is made.”

Catering to colleges

Rizzo said the app has been particularly popular in Greek life, especially at Ivy League schools, where much of their advertising has been targeted.

“We decided to hire ambassador interns, Choozum ambassadors or evangelists,” he said, adding the interns must be elected officials within their sororities or fraternities and rattling off a list of colleges where the app has a presence.

He said the app has been most popular with women, who largely use it for the purposes of party planning and shopping for fashion and apparel.

“There’s a lot of opinions on who wore it better,” Rizzo said.

“One of the senators of the sororities at Nova Southeastern, she has several hundred sorority sisters and is asking the opinion of 40 or 50 of them which shoes she should wear to the awards ceremony. Instead of asking people she doesn’t know, who don’t know her personality and have no correlation to her style, she asked privately.”

Rizzo said he hopes to use college students as a test market, of sorts, to decide how to expand the app in the future – possibly by offering corporate sponsors the opportunity to pay to have market research surveys featured on Choozum.

“The thinking is that particular audience will help define our enhancements – the way people use the app, what features they want next,” he said.

“And then we hope that outside of Greek life that other people in other segments will start to utilize the app, as well.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…