Early last week Facebook announced a new vertical of their platform called Facebook Campus. The feature will be a tab inside Facebook where students can interact with other students from their university, essentially a social network for colleges. This launch comes as Facebook is losing their grip on Generation Z. In high school, I would go on facebook everyday. Now, I go days without entering the app.
If you know me at all, you’d know that my sophomore year at Elon University, a friend and I tried to launch a college-exclusive social network. Unfortunately it failed due to lack of funding and lack of tech experience. Read more about it here.
College students are at the mercy of many social stigmas and everything you do is noticed. So convincing kids to join a new social media platform is really hard. Facebook has the right idea in mind, based off my observations from being a student and launching a college-exclusive social media startup, kids are looking for a platform like this.
Facebook is the platform that has the ability to execute this product properly, but I’ve noticed a few things they can do to help the product become a success.
- Remove the Facebook association.
- Unlike Sean Parker, I’m not suggesting a small change to the name, I’m calling for an entire rebrand. Take Campus out of Facebook and make a separate app called “Campus” or something like that and have it be owned by facebook. Facebook isn’t really considered “cool” nowadays by my generation, so drawing in an audience may be hard. And no doubt, Facebook has the engineers and teams to build an incredible app.
2. Be edgy
- Face the facts, college kids aren’t PG-13. The app that will have the most success will allow for edgy content within the application. Look to the Barstool accounts, people love the content they post because it’s edgy and relatable. Obviously, you would need to have some conditions in your user agreement, but this is one of the keys to attracting a college audience.
3. Distance yourself from the university
- Sure, universities should be able to announce things through the app and you should be able to link your classes, but beyond that colleges shouldn’t be too involved. Social media is cool, but colleges and oversight aren’t. So, as soon as student hears that the school is monitoring the app or something like that, they will leave very quickly.
In the end, Facebook is losing Gen Z and it now looks like they are trying to get us back. They have the right idea, and if they adjust their execution it could be a really interesting future for this new vertical.