Over the last decade, social media presence on WKU’s campus has progressively increased, and now there is a potential addition to the rosters—and students’ phones—named Campus Bubble.
The site was designed by students at Emory University in Atlanta, with the intent of providing a social media experience specifically for campus life, according to Spencer Barkoff, Campus Bubble’s CEO.
“Facebook is for our social lives and LinkedIn is for our professional lives, but there isn’t really a place for [students] to connect in an academic setting,” Barkoff said.
Campus Bubble approached the Student Government Association with a demo, said Nolan Miles, the executive vice president of SGA.
The concept of the site is to bring students, faculty and alumni together on one shared platform.
As the name would suggest, Campus Bubble offers its users a variety of “bubbles” to join within the university. Each bubble belongs to a group or organization on campus where students are able to follow posts and stay updated on events and deadlines.
Barkoff believes prospective and incoming freshmen can also benefit from using the site because it introduces them to the community atmosphere prior to their arrival.
The website is designed to connect students and faculty— past, present and future.
“[Campus Bubble] is specifically tailored to our university,” Miles said. “It’s even related to alumni; it’s not just for students.”
Additionally, organizations and clubs on campus wouldn’t have to worry about maintaining yet another site.
“[The bubbles] are linked to existing social media,” Miles said. “It’s kind of like a hub, so if someone posts to their Facebook it will also post in the Campus Bubble. All the students would have to do would be to check their Campus Bubble to see everything.”
According to Barkoff, the bubbles include centralized calendars and push notifications to keep students aware.
Currently, the site is still in its trial run, Miles said. SGA has not committed to officially pursuing the site.
“This semester is just dedicated to educating students about it,” Miles said.
Joanna Phillips-Melancon, associate professor of marketing, teaches social media marketing classes at WKU. She said the success of new social media sites depends on two factors.
“I think it’s about the timing and the benefit,” Phillips-Melancon said. “Whether it succeeds or not is all going to depend on the student body. If the value is there and their friends are there, I think it might centralize things.”
While social media is popular on college campuses, it is also has a pronounced presence in the job market, according to Phillips-Melancon.
Sites like Facebook and Twitter, along with LinkedIn, can be critical in a student’s professional development.
“I do a lot of research about [this area], and employers, a lot of times, if they can’t find you on social media, it’s almost as damaging as if they find bad things,” Phillips-Melancon said. “I think that’s the value of social media to employers. They can get a feel for who you are. At the end of the day, you want someone that you’re going to like working with and is going to do a good job and work hard, but is also nice to work across the hall from.”
Ultimately, Campus Bubble’s permanent residence at WKU depends on student input.
Students can explore Campus Bubble’s demo run at wku.campusbubble.com/.