Based on past experience and investigations, politics is one of the most sensitive and stigmatized topics to bring up in everyday conversations. Consequently, a variety of people have felt that their sense of confidence and their fervor for a political belief has declined, which minimizes the potential for social impact. meetUp provides a safe and harmonious environment to increase users' confidence in freely expressing their political opinions,

What it does

meetUp allows people who have similar political beliefs or are in the same political party to connect with each other in a chat room. The chat rooms are divided by political party that the user selects when registering their account. In each chat room, users of similar political beliefs connect with each other, discuss political phenomena, and plan out rallies and events without the nasty arguments between politically opposing users that are seen pervasively in social media sites such as Reddit, Twitter, etc.

How we built it

We decided to build the app through Xcode, the IDE that is commonly used for iOS development. We programmed the entire app with the language Swift. The backend for the various political chatrooms and user authentication was conducted with Firebase. We also used various third party libraries such as customized text fields to upgrade the user interface.

Challenges we ran into

We had problems with the user authentication, making the chatrooms, and with the profile setup because we were initially unfamiliar with incorporating Firebase for iOS development. We also had problems with the initial idea, as we were unsure of whether to group users of similar political beliefs or different political beliefs. Finally, the merciless time pressure (7 hours!) greatly limited the potential of the project that we submitted in the hackathon.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of making a fully functional social media app, which has a wide variety of functionalities and components in of itself, in 7 hours.

What we learned

We learned how to make a chat app with profile setup and fully functional chatrooms with Firebase. We also learned how to deal with time pressure in the context of a hackathon (7 hours as opposed to 24 or 36 hours in other hackathons).

What's next for meetUp

We hope to add a feature that allows users to create their own events and rallys. We also hope to have a cleaner user interface. In order to filter out trolls or users who are not interested in having a progressive and civic discussion, we plan to incorporate an AI Tone Analyzer such as IBM Watson to remove posts that appear to be aggressive and a feature in which users can report trolls to the developer.

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