Buffalo State chosen as one of three colleges to test new social media app BzzChatter

The app combines elements of Twitter, Facebook, YikYak and Snapchat


BzzChatter will go live in early or mid-February.

Dan Almasi, Executive Editor

A new app aiming to better connect college campuses through news and social media content will be available to SUNY Buffalo State students in February.

BzzChatter combines elements of Facebook, Twitter, YikYak and Snapchat and features two main pages – a home page that displays news and content for the user’s campus only, and another area that features nationally relevant news from colleges and universities across the country. 

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Founder Chris Catris is working with college news organizations to develop an app that will “bring their publications into the 21st century.” He says that, in a changing digital media age, campus news outlets have “been left in the dark.”

“BzzChatter is about the user experience – it’s easy to use and it’s engaging,” the 27-year old Elmhurst College graduate explains.

In an age where many young people type faster on their phones than a computer keyboard, Catris believes the ability to post news and content directly from a smartphone is essential.

“Students and news organizations need this app. News organizations are going away from paper,” Catris said. “Everything is digital because you can stay relevant a lot quicker. That’s what BzzChatter aims to do; it allows news organizations to put out content as quickly and as easily as possible, and gives it to students how they want to receive it, which is on their mobile phones.”

Catris believes the role of student media organizations should be to not only report on campus news and events, but spark conversation and debates about campus issues and events. Every user will have a profile with a picture and some basic information.

“It’s about relationship building; it’s a two-way street, right? Students and campus news organizations, instead of campus news organizations just broadcasting – it brings engagement,” Catris said.

Within the app, campus news editors and producers will serve as moderators. Writers, reporters and even students will be able to submit news and other media to moderators for approval. An interface resembling Snapchat’s allows users to submit photos and videos of newsworthy things they see happening around their campus.

Buffalo State’s 10,500-student campus is exactly what Catris was looking for. Already working with a small school (3,400 students) and a big one (36,000), he needed a mid-sized school to participate in the app’s maiden voyage.

Catris and two other developers have been working on the app since last May. He expects the beta version to be up and running by early or mid-February.

BzzChatter will eventually cost campus media organizations a monthly fee, but Buffalo State and the other piloting campuses have been given the opportunity to give it a free test run. Catris wants one thing in return: feedback.

“Based on the feedback I’ve gotten from a handful of people, everyone is at least hungry enough to try it, which tells me there’s a need for it,” Catris said. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone.”

Edit: A previously published version of this article included the names of the other two schools participating in testing the app. Chris Catris and BzzChatter requested the names of the other two schools not be included in the story.

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