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Social Networks Students Should Join (If They Haven’t Already)

Image: Teen girls text on their phones.

Teen girls text on their phones. Getty Images stock

Students are heading back to school, and for many that means keeping in touch online. Facebook, Twitter and email are great for that sometimes, but it's also good to have apps that are a bit more focused on your location and social situation. Here are a few worth checking out.

Whatsapp

Wait, isn't Whatsapp just for messages? Kind of, but it's got so many features now that it can work not just as a replacement for texting, but a tool for trading photos and videos, organizing study groups and nights out, and all manner of things. Get all your friends on it and it may soon be your go-to app for keeping your real-life social network together.

Circle of 6 or bSafe

Getting home safe from a dinner date, party, or just across campus late at night and alone can sometimes be risky. Circle of 6 lets you contact several close friends with a custom message and location. bSafe is a bit more involved, tracking where you are and letting you know which friends are nearby. And Kitestring, while it's not actually a social network, may help keep you safe as well, alerting friends if you haven't made it home by a time you specify.

bSafe and Circle of 6 let you keep in touch with a close few friends and watch out for each other. bSafe / Circle of 6

Tinder

Okay, this may not be news, but lots of people are still resisting Tinder's siren song. The fact is that if you're single it's a good way to get your face out there and meet new people, which is a plus for someone moving to a big new school. But you can't win if you don't play — so give it a shot and start swiping. Tinder veterans might want to check out Hinge, which is still small but likely full of tech-savvy early adopters like them.

Unseen and Secret

Secret lets you post messages anonymously, and Unseen does the same for pictures. These networks may be overflowing with drama and offensive stuff, but they're also an uncensored look at what the people around you are thinking and doing. It's good to know about, and surprisingly addictive, even if you don't contribute.

Your school's subreddit

The subsection of Reddit devoted to your school or city (search for it) can be a source for things to do, valuable info, and general community. Lost dogs, garage sales, and food recommendations are just a few of the things you may find. Not every college town or university has a thriving subreddit, though.

Nextdoor connects neighbors - and maybe you can make it work for the dorms. Nextdoor

Nextdoor

Living in apartments near school? The neighborhood may be active on Nextdoor, which lets communities track news, problems, and events in a hyper-local way. You can find some friends for a cookout, or set up a neighborhood watch.