Erodr, a new social media app for students to expand their networks, is quickly gaining popularity around college campuses across the country and is now finding its way to Virginia Tech.
The app, which is available for both Android and Apple smartphones, opened its services to Tech earlier this year and is now scoring more downloads for its features.
“Erodr is an open forum where you can post to other students on campus,” said Ansley Sherwin, junior theatre arts major and campus representative for erodr. “Humor, selfies, pets and stuff about guys and girls are popular topics.”
Sherwin, who is known throughout the erodr community as the “erodr girl,” said the Tech network is becoming quite active.
“There are currently over 1,450 users in the VT network and about 800 unique users check in daily,” Sherwin said. “We see new users sign up every day.”
According to Sherwin, erodr can be described as a mix of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all rolled into one app where users can see posts on daily social dilemmas, classes and other events going on around campus.
Erodr was developed in 2012 by then University of Missouri senior Drew Halliday. Halliday said he first came up with the idea because there was a lack of apps that allowed students to connect with their immediate surroundings.
“There is no social tool that allows students to broadcast to each other without first having learned each other’s name,” Halliday said. “Erodr enables students to have an open forum discussion with classmates.”
He said that he felt most social networking services were too user and egocentric, meaning that students only communicated and shared information to their friends and people they already knew and had formed a connection with.
“On apps like Twitter or Facebook, most people just follow their friends and interact among their own social circle,” Halliday said. “People are more disconnected and closed off than ever. They see what they want to see.”
The app features a streamer, which is similar to a virtual bulletin board where users can post content or view popular posts. From there, users can comment and “like” these posts. The comments and "likes" are private, however, and can only be viewed by the original poster. Posts with a lot of "likes" stay around longer, while those with a lot of "dislikes" erode more quickly.
So, all posts eventually disappear. Nothing is saved or archived through the app.
Taylor Nelsen, a junior psychology major, said erodr is a great way to meet and interact with other classmates.
“I check erodr about five or six times a day. It’s really easy to use, and I prefer it over some of the more popular social media apps,” Nelsen said. “I would just post about a class, and users in that same class would respond and reach out to me.”
The app allows users to form “connections” with one another, much like friend requesting on Facebook, which then permits private one-to-one messaging.
Users are able to customize and adjust various settings to fit their personal preferences, like filtering their streamer to show either popularity, recent posts or “connections” only.
Users can also choose to post either anonymously or publicly and can control who gets to see their posts. Erodr aims to protect users’ privacy, thus users are visible only if they choose to be and have the ability to block unwanted contact from other users.
“There is no database or user directory where users can look up other users,” Halliday said. “This greatly protects the user.”
This feature reflects what Halliday said is a strict erodr policy to protect against cyberbullying. In addition, content is constantly being monitored by a support team, and users may be banned if they abuse the service. An individual can only register once using their student email address in order to limit the number of spam or fake accounts.