The Anonymity Factor in Apps for College Students
Anonymous apps prove to be popular with the college crowd. There’s Yik Yak, a location-based app, that acts as a forum where students can post text and receive up and down votes. Then Whisper also targets college students with a platform where users can post their secrets on pictures with anonymity. These apps target a demographic concerned about employment and consequential background checks, so we can understand while an anonymity factor could sound appealing. However, these apps must compete for attention not only against each other, but social media powerhouses like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In order to do so, these rising apps must introduce amusing updates to hold on to their user’s attention.
Different anonymity apps offer different features. Take Unseen, which doesn’t require a username, email, phone number or location activation. Students simply select their college campus to log in. Then they can see photos and text posts as well as engage in comment sections or private chats.
To keep users on their toes, the app launched a new GIF-like feature called Flicks. Flicks allows users to instantly capture and combine five photos into one looping image. The result is a GIF-style image that conveys subtle motions thereby breathing life into what would otherwise be a still photo. With Flicks inspiring more creativity among users, engagement will likely increase on the app.
These apps may have taken a page out of Snapchat’s book. No, the app is not anonymous. However, its disappearing content gives students a sense of security that their pictures and videos won’t haunt them forever. Furthermore, Snapchat has always respected the demand to reinvent itself as an app to keep users engaged. People used to panic when Facebook would update its features and template. But now, social media enthusiasts expect change. Since this summer, Team Snapchat introduced geo-filters, Our Story, Campus Story, Snapcash and Discovery, to keep users entertained and loyal.
Yes, all of these apps have their limitations. Snapchat has been hacked. Friends can take screenshots. Then whenever someone’s safety is at risk, apps like Yik Yak will release information to cooperate with law enforcement. But in the more average cases, these apps don’t leave a social media footprint. There’s an idea that users are free, which invites a goofiness. College students try to hold onto the last stages of their childhood, and these social media apps understand that.