Chalked advertisements for the new uTaP app could be found all over campus earlier this month, though what has been harder to find are people who are actually using the app.
uTaP, which stands for University Time and Place, is a new free app for iOS devices. The app tracks users’ locations and allows them to make location-specific posts. Each post is given a radius by its poster (ranging from 330 ft. to 2 miles). The post will become visible to other users who enter this radius, with posts also having the option to be made time sensitive.
The app was launched on the Ohio State University campus on April 2 by OSU student Karl Meves, a senior in electrical engineering, along with help from business partner Kyle Nielsen, a senior finance and accounting major at Miami University. An attempt was made to speak with Meves, but he did not respond to inquiries.
In order to register a uTaP account, users must provide a valid university email address which is then sent an email containing a link to activate their account, in theory limiting uTaP access to university students (and faculty). Users’ first names are displayed with their posts. Instead of having a profile page that is available to other users, users can either respond publicly to posts or send private messages. For privacy concerns, it is possible to block other users.
Wittenberg students’ activity with the app seems to have begun tepidly and then died off completely a week after they started using it (from using the app on campus the first “tap” was made on April 5 and the last one was on April 12).
Wittenberg’s taps run the gamut from complaints about Firestine being flooded, inquiries about EMS appearances, an SOS for a missing Northface, and complaints about the app itself. Some students who toyed around with this app for the purposes of this article thought that the concept behind the app was interesting, and indeed even the execution, but ultimately they viewed the app as a novelty above all else.
Unless the creators come back to chalk the campus again, or the app picks up momentum nationally, it seems as though students have lost interest in uTaP. The very mechanism by which uTaP works – its reliance on other students to use it so that others may make the most of their taps – is proving to be its largest obstacle in establishing itself as an app that students want to use.
(Casey O’Brien / firstname.lastname@example.org)