The COVID-19 pandemic left the entire world feeling lost and disconnected, especially college students. In 2020, Stanford freshman Teddy Solomon was struggling to find a community on campus. Instagram comments and GroupMe messages were not cutting it.
So at a Sigma Nu party on campus one night, he came up with the idea for what is now called Fizz, an app by college students for college students. It started out as Buzz, and the name was backed up by $750,000 invested by entrepreneur Rakesh Mathur.
The app, which can be described as a combination of Reddit, Yik Yak and early versions of Facebook, has expanded beyond Stanford to more than two dozen campuses, that now includes Bradley. Fizz is a completely anonymous platform that allows users to publish text posts, polls and images. Students can also direct message each other and choose to reveal their identities.
One of the main selling points of Fizz is its anonymity, but the other is its moderation team. The app can only be accessed by people who have an .edu email address, and users are only shown posts that come from the rest of their student body. Because the experience is hyper-local, the Fizz team wanted to give students a similar moderation experience. The app hires about a dozen students per campus to complement the average AI-generated content moderation.
The effort to bring Fizz to Bradley was no small feat, as almost 30 people were involved. Alongside moderators, Fizz also hired ambassadors.
“I was an ambassador on campus. I handed out merch and explained to people what Fizz was.” senior finance major, Ashley Edgeworth said.
Even with this moderation team, some students worry that Fizz will fall into the harassment and rumor mongering that Yik Yak is notorious for. Students have witnessed friends get their lives temporarily ruined over a false rumor and are worried that the new app could have the same effect.
Not everyone shares this trepidation, as the Bradley forum has already gained a more populous and more interactive user base than that of the five-mile radius in Yik Yak. The highest “Fizzin’” post at time of publication has more than 1,100 upvotes and the top poll has more than 1000 responses. On the other hand, the “Hottest” Yaks rarely break 100 upvotes on Bradley’s campus.