Social networking platform Sidechat is gaining prominence on campus


Sidechat, a mobile app designed for college students to “anonymously share memes, jokes, thoughts, confessions and more” with classmates, according to its App Store description, has become increasingly popular. popular among the brown populace, with a few posts on the Brown Sidechat page garnering hundreds of reactions.

“It’s kind of similar to Yik Yak,” another anonymous messaging app, said TK Monford ’25, a student hired to be a Sidechat ambassador when it launched at Brown in mid-March.

Sidechat features include an ad-free interface, push notifications, and anonymous private messaging between users.

Ethan Bove ’25, who uses Sidechat, described the app as “unbalanced” and “entertaining”.

“It’s always funny… to make fun of things anonymously,” he added.

Henry Niehaus ’25 added that the app is an “interesting way” to keep up with classmates. But Sidechat’s anonymous nature is also ‘divisive’ in that it ‘is used by people to say things they wouldn’t say to someone face-to-face’, he added. .

“When you give people an anonymous platform, it’s like setting the stage for…toxicity that otherwise wouldn’t happen,” said Chas Steinbrugge ’24, who runs the @brownumemes Instagram page.

Isabella Steidley ’23 MPH ’24 added that the posts on the platform are often obscene. “I don’t like scrolling through 20 sex jokes,” she said.

Sidechat’s content is moderated, which means posts must follow company guidelines, according to Monford.

So far, the Sidechat app has been launched for specific schools, including private universities such as Harvard, Princeton and Tufts, Monford said. Only students attending a college where Sidechat launched can create, read and comment on posts, he added.

Mikael Obiomah ’25, another student hired to help launch Sidechat at the University, said the app received “hundreds of signups” during the first day of promotion, which took place on tables around campus offering free cookies.

According to the Sidechat Terms of Service, the app is operated by Flower Ave Inc., a New York-based mobile app studio. The Herald could not reach Flower Ave for comment.

Some students told the Herald that Sidechat seemed more popular among the underclass population. “I haven’t heard of (Sidechat), but it seems like something freshman would be obsessed with,” Joseph Suddleson ’22 said.

According to Claire Bergan ‘22.5, Sidechat’s rise in popularity represents a generational divide in the student body’s platforms of choice. She noted that her peers used to check Facebook meme pages for comments about campus life and the student experience. But now, Bergan said she didn’t “really look” at similar pages as a senior.

“By the time you’re a senior, … you’re less concerned with building community and more concerned with maintaining the relationships you’ve built,” Suddleson said, adding that upper-class men possess a “very outward, forward-looking”. focus” against subclasses.

Most of the people recruited to help launch Sidechat were freshmen and sophomores, according to Monford.

Steidley said she visits, a recreation of Dear Blueno’s original Facebook page, to see anonymous questions, thoughts and confessions. Although Steidley doesn’t post on, she said she always reads all posts, preferring it over Sidechat.

Compared to Sidechat, is more “conversation-based with longer content that revolves around campus-specific issues,”’s anonymous developers wrote in an email to The Herald.

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Dear Blueno is created and maintained by Brown students with open source code that never stores data from anonymous authors and commenters, they added.

Clare Kennedy ’22 explained how the original Dear Blueno Facebook page was in some ways analogous to Sidechat during her first year at Brown. “In many ways it was a really good resource, especially as a freshman (when) you have a lot of questions about what’s going on,” she said.

“There’s a gap in tolerance… (of upper and lower classes) for drama,” she said, adding that age also leaves less time to “talk to strangers online.” .

As you age, your attention shifts to the “people closest to you” who are “really present in your life”, she added.


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