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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014

Yap On It connects fans, athletes


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WESLEY CHAPEL — Social media outlets, such as Twitter, introduced the opportunity for athletes to communicate with their fans. When athletes “open the floor” to questions, they are often bombarded with hundreds or even thousands of inquiries.

Unfortunately, the athlete often answers the questions in the order received, regardless of the topic relevance or amount of interest from other fans. Barrett Wood, the former manager of The Golf Academy at Saddlebrook Resort, has come up with a new communication method that benefits both the athlete and fans. Yap On It, a website that took two years to develop, allows fans to vote on the questions the athlete is asked. On the event day, the athlete can answer the top 10-15 questions.

“I developed Yap On It to give fans and athletes a more organized and controlled environment for the Q&A exchanges,” Wood, 32, said. “The Q-and-A events are not live, so the athlete has time to deliver thoughtful answers to the fans. In our busy world, everyone is looking for short, meaningful connections. So far, we have received only positive feedback from athletes and fans.”

To date, Wood has conducted nearly a dozen events, primarily with golf professionals. Kevin Stadler, who finished in the top 10 in this year’s McGladrey Classic, was featured earlier this month. Top-30 Money List finisher Roberto Castro and World Cup team member Kevin Streelman, who also won the 2013 Tampa Bay Championship golf tournament at Innisbrook Resort in March, have also been featured on Yap On It

In 2014, Wood plans to introduce themes, such as golf coaches, to the question events. Steve Bann, who coaches K.J. Choi and Stuart Appleby, is already scheduled to participate, and golf professionals Jeff Klauk and Andres Gonzales have also signed on.

“Our goal is to be a bridge and not a barrier between athletes and fans,” Barrett, a 2005 Clemson graduate, said. “We have brought together a team of usability and interface experts to design and develop the best system that allows fans to quickly log in and ask a question.”

For information, contact Wood at barrett@yaponit.com, call (404) 543-3400 or log onto www.yaponit.com.

Correspondent Cliff Gill can be reached at reportercliffgill@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @ReporterCliff.

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