OPINION: Wildfire app is for student safety, not gossip

OPINION: Wildfire app is for student safety, not gossip

Wildfire is a popular app many students at Kennesaw State use to post about campus gossip, political rants and memes, but it should instead be used exclusively for campus emergencies and events.

The app is intended for users to post about emergencies that have taken place on their college campuses, according to Wildfire’s website. The app was created after the founder and CEO of Wildfire founder fell victim to an attempted mugging attack on his own college campus.

Once safe, the founder posted to his Facebook to inform those in the area of the attack. He decided that Facebook was not an efficient source for spreading information, so he created an app designed for emergencies.

Wildfire is intended for its users to stay informed about what is going on throughout campus, however, students at KSU have used the app for more than its intended use.

While there are many student users who do an excellent job of spreading important news on the app, there remain many whose posts resemble that of alphabet soup.

“Sometimes it is helpful. Students talk about upcoming events, professors they would recommend, or classes they are taking,” freshman psychology major Lila Vollmer said. “Then you have students who use it as if it were a social media site when it is not. It is frustrating.”

In some cases, students misuse the app by flooding it with irrelevant posts and memes that prevent more important news from showing up. Wildfire should be used primarily for urgent campus news.

“If there is not a dire emergency, do not post about it,” junior mechanical engineering major Mya McCollum said. “There should be a way to keep certain posts from showing up on the timeline, rather than having the user scroll through like Twitter in order to find what is important.”

In addition to non-newsworthy posts and memes, some students misuse the app as a platform for political rants. Wildfire should not be used as a political outlet as that would only only distract students from the news that is vital to their everyday needs on campus.

“Half of the posts are deliberately trying to start drama or political debates, while the other posts are ignored,” freshman digital animation major Ian Lamasney said. “Rather than get rid of the features, I would suggest there be a way to block posts that have nothing to do with safety.”

Although Wildfire is a useful app, steps must be taken to ensure that the unnecessary, distracting and harmful posts are immediately filtered out or deleted so that Wildfire can be more effectively used by students for emergency purposes.

If students want to make non-safety related posts on Wildfire, they need to use their personal social media account. If it is not for the greater good of the university, users should not create a post, as students have plenty of other means at their disposal to engage in debates, gossip and meme-sharing.

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