In November of 2019, Glo Robinson set out to fulfill her vision of transforming her WTBU podcast, Go Off!, into an online platform. A junior in COM majoring in public relations and minoring in entrepreneurship and innovation, the California native wanted to be a voice for her generation.
“I never envisioned that I would start a tech company in college,” she said.
Originally, the Go Off! podcast was all about Generation Z from a Gen Z perspective. “As a Gen Zer, I was very annoyed that I would read articles all the time about my generation written by Millennials and Gen Xers, but they would never feel accurate,” she said.
Talking with her friends one day at a study lounge, Robinson thought that Go Off! could become more than a podcast. She thought of all the ways in which social media could be addictive and make people unhappy.
“I thought that there really needed to be another way we could communicate online without becoming addicted,” she said. “I wanted a place to have real conversations about real things that I consume.”
With people all over the world having access to the internet, connecting with people and sharing one’s thoughts has never been easier.
“It’s just mind-blowing how much more you have in common with people than you initially think,” she said. “So I thought media consumption was a really great way of bonding people together.”
Robinson wanted the platform to start conversations, not simply be a place where people could comment on the content that other users upload. She also wanted to prioritize the user’s experience.
“Our user experience is not trying to make you addicted, our user experience is trying to have you get the best user interaction every time you come on our website,” she said.
More than 100 customer discovery interviews later, Robinson and her team uncovered three main pain points for social media users: people don’t feel heard, people don’t feel like there’s a place to actually have a conversation, and people don’t feel safe on social media platforms.
The Go Off! team decided to be more conscious of these issues. The conversations that take place on the platform, typically among groups of 10 people, are led by moderators who help ensure that nothing inappropriate is said, guide discussions, and break echo chambers.
However, Robison emphasizes that this platform might not be for everyone.
“I think that it’s for people that want to have real conversations, people that want to engage, and people that want to feel challenged,” she said.
So far, the testing period of the platform has gleaned important insights. From the data they have collected, the team has noticed that users’ satisfaction tends to increase when there is disagreement in the conversation. Users also aren’t as fond of the “like” button, as they find it does not encourage them to think as much about what they’re saying or reflect on meaningful ways to respond.
As the CEO and founder of Go Off!, Robinson is extremely grateful for the team of nine people who have contributed to bringing this project to life and who have all stayed invested in the project since its beginning.
“I love the fact that I feel like I get to wake up in the morning and feel like there’s something bigger than myself that I get to contribute to,” she said.
With her vision already set in motion, Robinson has great hope for the future of the company. Even though a long road of hard work awaits, she’s enjoying every moment of it.
“I think it’s just about living in that day and thinking ‘I’m going to make the most of what I’m supposed to get done,’ and just embracing the fact that I even get to do it in the first place,” she said.
Robinson also feels fortunate to be majoring in PR, as she is able to apply what she learns in her classes to improve Go Off! and is even able to use Go Off! as a project in several of her classes. She also encourages fellow COM students who might be interested in starting a project from scratch, to carry out their ideas.
“If you see a problem, go fix it. There’s no one stopping you from trying to find a solution to something,” she said. “The beauty about being a COM major is that you have this advantage of how you communicate what that problem is and what that solution is, that a lot of other people don’t have.”
Learn more about Go Off! at https://www.gooffco.com/
Sofia Fabrega, Staff Writer
Sofia Fabrega is a sophomore at Boston University pursuing a dual degree in advertising and psychology. Currently in Panama, the country she grew up in, Sofia is taking advantage of BU’s Learn from Anywhere format and is studying remotely. When she is not exploring her writing interests, Sofia volunteers at the BU Brain and Early Experiences Lab. Some of her hobbies include reading, photography, and playing the piano.