If you ask college student in this day and age what their opinion on student loans are, chances are, you aren’t going to hear anything very nice. With student loan debt now reaching around 1.2 trillion dollars, the American Dream is more unattainable than ever for millennials who are saddled with debt from higher education. In a recent article, Forbes describes some even more troubling consequences of student debt, namely that “young Americans are putting off buying homes, starting families, or opening businesses due to crippling student loan debt.”
This year, the (mostly negative) conversation around student debt on social media has skyrocketed. In light of total student debt reaching such a high number, along with it becoming a serious talking point in the current political race, people have been flocking to Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook to share their opinions. Multiple news sources have also picked up the topic and flooded the social sphere with stories and blogs on the matter. Between 2013 and now, there have been about 9.3 million posts discussing student debt, with over 5.8 million of those posts being in 2015 alone.
As we might expect, the conversation is quite negative, with about a third of the posts discussing the futility of paying off college loans, complaining about it, or angry about the state of legislation surrounding debt.
@emileyfaithe Not even going to lie. Student loans in general are soul sucking.
— Marissa Murphy (@MarissaMeeow) June 21, 2015
friday nights are for lying in bed thinking what a mistake college is and how you’re too deep in debt to drop out — ok (@girlideas) March 13, 2015
With all of this frustration and despair surrounding student loans and the debt that comes with it, the idea of a positive conversation around the topic seems pretty far-fetched. But a new company called Givling is setting out to do just that. Givling has created an ingenious way to not only help people out with their college loans, but also to give others a chance to win money, and has managed to start raising awareness about the severity of the student loan crisis in the process. Through a pay-to-play trivia game, Givling raises money that is put towards a fund for people who have outstanding student loans and have signed up for what Givling calls their “queue”. Once a certain fund goal is reached, half of the money is dispersed to people with these loans, and the other half is awarded to specific trivia teams that have the best score. There are also multiple daily awards to incentivize people to play consistently every day. Although there was a small decline in post volume after its release in March, Givling’s volume has grown since June, along with positivity about the idea and its goals, with many users jumping on the bandwagon to try to get some help with their mounting loans.
Givling has also done an excellent job engaging their audience, whether it be to offer support, answer a question, or even fix a problem right on the spot. There is a vast amount of confusion around student loans and debt, on the best options when applying for them, what kind of repayment options there are, their necessity in the first place, and on how the problem revolving around student debt has gotten so bad. Givling has taken their customer service to the next level through their constant responses to any negative or problematic posts, and has gained the trust of their audience. By helping their audience through a very tough and stressful topic, Givling has been able to capture the positive engagement originating not only from their social media accounts, but also from individuals who want to praise or thank Givling. This engagement has created a positive atmosphere around their idea, and has people talking about Givling in a great light.
Givling helped to fund a student’s entire $32,000 loan just as recently as July, which coincides directly with a heavy spike in posts. Although post volume has leveled out some since the payout, there is bound to be more spikes in conversation as Givling gains in popularity and starts to fund more college students or graduates loans’. Givling is doing their best to build helpful business within student loan debt discussions, and so far they are succeeding in capitalizing on that conversation.