Before the Penn-centric Facebook meme group, Official Unofficial Penn Squirrel Catching Club, there were a few other trends that gripped students across campus. The Daily Pennsylvanian spoke to some of Penn's most recent graduates to find out more.
Many Penn seniors will remember the TheRedCup application from their freshman year. The app was a way for fraternities to notify students about when and where they were having open parties.
“All the frats would post the time and location of the party with their fake names, like they do on Facebook,” 2017 College graduate Mallory Kirby said. “I remember all of my freshman hall and friends using it in the fall.”
Over time, however, students have ditched the TheRedCup app for Facebook, which is now the primary way for students to find out about parties. 2017 College graduate and former Tau Epsilon Phi Social Chair Avi Colonomos said he remembers Facebook becoming the main channel for communicating party details starting from his sophomore year.
“Facebook is a platform for all,” Colonomos said. “TheRedCup app was sort of dysfunctional from its inception.”
Another big party trends seniors have noticed is Spring Fling parties shifting from mostly on-campus “darties” or daytime parties to “downtowns,” which are parties held in Center City.
“All this downtown stuff for Fling,” 2017 College graduate Anna Rosenfeld said. “I think that’s the biggest change that we’ve seen.”
When seniors were freshmen, many were on the app Notice, which 2017 Wharton graduate Allison Gruneich described as “Yik Yak but just for Penn.”
Founded by 2014 Wharton graduate Edward Lando and 2017 Engineering graduate Yagil Burowski, the app was intended to encourage positivity on campus by letting students anonymously post positive compliments or shoutouts.
Penn seniors will also remember the app Whatsgoodly gaining popularity during their sophomore year. Launched by two Stanford University students in 2015, the app allowed students to anonymously create polls asking questions that they were always too afraid to ask in person. People who responded could see what other students on campus answered.
Although College junior Ilona Jileaeva remembers the popular app as being “ridiculous,” it did leave its mark on campus.
In the spring of 2016, the app being talked about on campus was Houseparty, a video-chatting app that allows multiple participants on one phone screen. Seniors said it seemed to improve on the technology used in Skype.
One important tech trend that seniors didn’t have access to in their earlier years at Penn was car-sharing applications like Uber and Lyft.
“There used to be a lot more cabs on campus,” Rosenfeld said. “Since Uber is so cheap, cabs are definitely less prevalent here.”
Some of the changes in social media in the past four years include the rise of Instagram, Snapchat and Tinder.
Seniors noticed that underclassmen tend to use Instagram much more than they do.
However, seniors added that they do have strong memories of one particular Instagram account: @YungBenFranklin. A predecessor to the Penn Facebook meme group, @YungBenFranklin posted pictures satirizing Greek life and pre-professional culture at Penn.
“The Ben Franklin account, when it first started, everyone was talking about it,” Colonomos said. “Ben Franklin has stopped releasing things, and [the meme group] characterizes our campus and has overtaken Ben Franklin.”
Rosenfeld said she still stands by the Instagram account. “Yung Ben Franklin is definitely funnier than the meme group.”
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