After the fall of UR SecretSafe, whose last post was on Oct. 22, 2022, and the slow down of consistent UR-based “confessional” Instagram accounts — with popular offshoot UR Confessions recently posting after a month-long hiatus — campus discourse is returning via the introduction of Rochester Sidechat, a subset of the Sidechat app.
Looking around campus, it can be hard to find people with their gaze averted from their phones. “Doing terrible anyone got a cig in izone?” one may be messaging. “me and the girlies nearing blackout devouring some fresh (2-day-old) gourmet (stale) pit fries,” memes another.
Sidechat, designed for students to connect within their college campuses via a YikYak-style post format — which prides itself on its anonymity — has implemented itself within UR subsequent to its launch on Feb. 2, which has included reaching out to current students to serve as intermediaries between the creators and the community.
Prior to and during its launch, UR students were hired by Sidechat to promote the app over Instagram. On the launch day, a team of students recruited by Sidechat set up shop outside of Starbucks, where they handed out Sidechat-funded Insomnia Cookies as a way to interact with students and get them to download the app.
The student workers for Sidechat range in class year and background, but those who shared their experiences with the Campus Times mentioned that they had found out about Sidechat by friends via social media and joined the team as a way to make a quick buck.
“I know Sidechat is something that has already been at various universities, so I’m guessing UR was just its next university to hit,” said senior Bibie Babajide. “They had a lot of opportunities to gain money and you know college students, they’re always looking for a side way to get money.”
“I was getting paid $15 an hour through CashApp/Venmo when I was tabling. I also got paid 10-15 for sharing links or posting flyers on my Instagram story,” said first-year Kaylee Rosa. “However, there are different and higher positions than me that get paid more and are on payroll.”
Beyond the initial promotion, some students are being paid to be content creators and managers, which requires them to post consistently on Sidechat.
The current top post of all time, which states that “every time a freshman switches from [Biology] to [Psychology] there should be a cannon that goes off like in the [Hunger Games],” has 281 upvotes and two comments.
Sidechat has also started to enmesh itself in campus discourse, with a recent poll concerning the newly proposed religious buildings on campus — the Catholic Newman Center and Greenbaum Center — garnering over 160 votes.
In a conversation with the Campus Times, Sidechat representative Brittany Kane noted that while the app itself wasn’t currently making money and was being fully funded by fundraising, the pay for students was being factored in as “upfront investments.”
This investment has fueled posts such as, “Yall really wildin if you think you’re gonna find your valentine at psi u… That being said I’m extremely lonely please hit me up tonight.”