The necessity for privacy-and data friendly solutions is growing enormously, especially when talking about social networking solutions for students. In this article, we will assess the different factors why universities should look for alternatives for the Big Tech social networking platforms. Next, we will underline how a data-friendly tool as Goin’ could help out.
Critical attitude of students
Nowadays, students are more critical than ever in sharing their data with third parties. Especially, when it comes to Big Tech platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. It is generally known that these platforms aren’t free for no reason. By using such platforms, you accept the fact that third parties are trading with the data of your students, and students simply don’t like that. The immense decline of students active on the Facebook platform is a good example highlighting their criticism.
Regulation regarding General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will become more strict. With the upcoming Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Acts (DMA), it will be more complex to make use of privacy unfriendly platforms. Moreover, there will probably be more public focus on universities promoting data trading platforms.
Current and future data leaks
University employees are mostly not trained as data specialists. A specialist or not, data leaks have to be reported when they occur. And this is one of the most shocking problems, unconscious data leaks are caused by university employees on a daily basis. For instance, when Whatsapp groups are created for students, universities directly leak all phone numbers of their students. Even when there is chosen for a voluntary approach, students don’t have a choice if they don’t want to miss out. When such practices occur at universities, data leaks have to be reported to the National Authority for Personal Data while the university can suffer from significant fines or reputational damage.*
How Goin’ is different
Universities don’t only choose Goin’ for being the ‘friendly Facebook’ or the ‘trustworthy Whatsapp’, there are several reasons why universities choose for a safe community.
Fully focused on finding students
Current social networking platforms are focused on people you already know. Goin’ is all about easily finding students based on factors as study, interests, nationality etc. The whole platform is designed to create low boundary connections, promote student integration and inclusivity. A big difference is the fact you can easily filter through student profiles or join sub groups of interest resulting in finding all sort of students.
Supported by the students
As pointed out above, students are critical. Especially when it comes to sharing their phone number. When offering a privacy-friendly solution in a safe environment without the obligation to share phone numbers, we’ve seen a big willingness for students to connect before starting their studies. To provide some numbers; 96% of the alerted students voluntarily sign up for the Goin’ platform.
A safe and dedicated university community
By providing an exclusive university community that is fully tailored for your university, students feel more safe and less hesitant to build networks. Moreover, the internal platform can function as a central point to stimulate peer-to-peer information, promote events and finding out about student needs.
A more attractive university for qualified students
Once you have started building your pre-arrival community, these new students will function as ambassadors for the university the year after. Therefore, qualified students can connect directly to students who are already part of the community, this results into a sense of belonging enhancing the chance to choose for your university.
Data- and privacy friendly
The Goin’ platform works with profiles. The visible information of the profiles only contain basic information such as name, age and study. Students can add to this information in a personal text, by telling more about themselves such as interests, nationality and sports. Details of students are only shared if they accept a connection invite of another student. Should students decide to share further personal or sensitive data such as their phone number, that would always be in an encrypted message, invisible for anyone else. And logically, Goin’ never shares any data with third parties or with any commercial aim.
A final note
The world is more conscious about data safety than ever before, and luckily, this will only grow and grow. We would like to ask you to think how the situation will be in 3 years. We are of the opinion that change is needed and universities should seek for sustainable solutions already. Building your pre-arrival community now, will benefit you more every year as the community grows.
*This article is too limited to get into depth too much about current and upcoming data regulations. If you would like to have advise on this topic, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consult.