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March 14, 2013 | 12:00 a.m. CST
MU senior Drew Halliday thinks so. His new social networking app, erodr, is geared toward college students. To access the app, users register with a working student email address.
Compared to other social media platforms, erodr offers users increased privacy settings. Users are
able to post anonymously, control how long their content is available and limit the audience. No content posted through erodr is accessible outside of the app.
After erodr went live on MU’s campus and was released in the iTunes App Store in November, it expanded to other universities. Students at Virginia Tech, Louisiana State University, Temple University, Bloomsburg University and Indiana University-Bloomington are already using the app. Charlie Fink, a senior executive for the company, says erodr plans to expand to 50 more campuses in the fall.
Drew Halliday, top row third from left, created the erodr app that was released in November. He started sketching the app and proposing his idea to investors a year ago. <strong>Photo courtesy of Drew Halliday
Why create a new social networking app when there are so many others?
I came up with the idea because I wanted to post on social media, but I felt like I couldn’t express myself fully. On Facebook, for example, (your posts) advertise yourself to potential employers, family members, people that you used to go to school with. You have to filter yourself at all times.
I wanted to build a new social network that really allowed for freedom of expression in a way that
wasn’t available before.
How did you come up with the name, erodr?
Everything is disappearing. Everything is eroding away, so it’s erodr because of this main principle
—the erosion process. If people like your post, it will stick around a bit longer (unless you set a firm time limit). If people dislike your post, it disappears faster. Although some content can last longer, everything that goes up on erodr eventually disappears.
What features did you want in the app that you felt were missing from others?
I wanted to create a place where Mizzou students could truly express themselves and interact without social stigma. Each time you create something, you can choose the audience that can see it. If the content is personal, you can post it to friends only. If you want to express yourself openly, you can post to all classmates on campus.
As you can limit the audience on any post, you can also limit it in time and range. For example, you can create a post that lasts 30 minutes and is only visible to people within 100 yards (of you). How private is that? It’s really private.
As a user, you are invisible on erodr until you post or “like” content. There are all these different variables that allow you to express yourself during the creation of content that just aren’t there on other social networks.
How many users does the app have right now?
I’m not sure on the exact numbers; they are always changing, but on March 11, we had more than 150 new registrations at MU alone. I think the most impressive statistic is that we now have close to 1,000 students each day on Mizzou’s campus who come back (to use the app).
What kind of feedback have you gotten from MU and other universities?
This semester, more than 7,000 users have joined erodr. Of those users, more than 70 percent were active within the past few days.
Many users post to the streamer that they check erodr more frequently than Twitter or Facebook. Every day, we have more users, more likes, more posts than the day before. But the most important feedback is that users keep coming back.
Has the popularity of the app exceeded your expectations?
It’s taken a lot longer to develop the app than I thought, and it’s going to take another six months before we get it to the point where we want it. But for how far we’ve come, yes, (it has) exceeded my expectations.