CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Coastal Carolina University is showing students how to take apps many consider negative for promoting partying or bullying, and instead use them productively with positive effects. They're doing that by launching initiatives using those very apps.
WiGo is the latest project the social media team at CCU is considering undertaking. The app's CEO told CCU about 25 percent of Coastal students use it, but it's what they're using it for that may cause some universities to stay away from it.
"WiGo is an app, a relatively new app, it stands for 'Who Is Going Out', and it's kind of like a Facebook event, all except it's on your smartphone," says Brent Reser, the Social Media and Online Marketing Coordinator for CCU.
Reser says it's basically a way to RSVP for a party or event. "What you do is create an event and people can decide if they're going to go or not." A simple tap of the smartphone button and the student can say they are going.
"With these types of apps, I think a lot of universities are quick to just strike it down, and count it out," Reser says. "They think 'it's too negative, it's too edgy, we aren't going to give it the time of day'," because it could promote a partying lifestyle. The website for WiGo is largely devoted to going to parties.
Reser says his team is trying to look at it a different way. "We want to investigate these apps from every angle possible, and if we can use it in some way positive, we're gonna jump on it and we're gonna use it," he adds.
So, CCU would create student ambassadors for the app. They would push positive campus events and get as many people to go as possible.
It resembles an effort CCU made before. "Last semester we held a Yik Yak takeover," Reser says. Yik Yak is an app that has been under scrutiny because what you post is anonymous, so it has become an easy way for bullies to target victims.
The university instead had a day promoting Yik Yak to show the opposite effect and demonstrate to students how they should be using it. "We encouraged everyone on campus to just send out positive Yaks over the app Yik Yak for a whole day, and we had a presence out on Prince Lawn." Those who sent a positive message got a promotional item like a tee-shirt or sunglasses.
"If there's a way we can use it, there's a way we can better connect with our students, I'm all for going for it," Reser says.
Students who book events through WiGo can get paid if a certain number of people show up. But it's not mandatory, and CCU says that would not be the case if it uses the app, which is only available to students. On top of that, Reser says it would give the opportunity to enlist the help of students looking for a way to get involved with Coastal's social media department by becoming ambassadors.
There are not concrete plans to use WiGo on campus but it is something that is in the early stages of being worked toward. The university is the app's fourth largest campus presence.