Monash University Student App to Connect Students During the Pandemic

NIKITA BYRNES | NEWS



Monash University student Richard Osakwe was tired of having to constantly re-adjust to uni life when Victoria was going into a lockdown, out of a lockdown, and then back again. Inspired by the struggles of being a student during the Covid-19 pandemic, Osakwe created a mobile app called GroupThing designed to connect students (and graduates) with other individuals with similar interests.


The app can be used for networking, making friends, or dating. “With GroupThing,” Osakwe writes, “we combined the best features of Reddit and Bumble to prioritise common interests, and build profiles with substance.”


The app was built with the goal of connecting the shared interests of individuals. Similar to social media sites like Reddit and Pinterest, GroupThing allows people to create specific discussion/interest boards. However, the app’s primary focus is to foster connections between individuals, and the content exchange is a means of facilitating those connections students would usually make when attending society events or Ubar gatherings, but haven’t been able to since the pandemic restrictions have limited university campus attendance.

Osakwe writes: “By focusing on shared interests, GroupThing replicates the experience of meeting someone at a student society event, or bonding with someone new at a local gig.”


One of the app’s by-lines is “bringing back the humanity to social media”. The app does this by turning away from a Tinder-like action of swiping people away and rejecting profiles on the spot, and turns towards more of an Instagram- or Facebook-like profile system, where profiles include a person’s photos, interests, and popular posts.


Osakwe writes that all functions on GroupThing were designed with the “human” as the top priority. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, GroupThing sees the likes on posts as harmful, because they generate insecurity and addiction to numbers. The app hides like numbers on posts from everyone, the poster included.


GroupThing’s founder, Richard Osakwe, will be donating $3 to Foodbank Australia for every sign up to the app as a way of assisting with the crisis in hunger that has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.


Are you interested in GroupThing? Download the app and find out more at: https://groupthing.app.link/.