Short description of the selected community and explanation for your group interest (include links if appropriate)
The community we chose to probe is fraternities from anywhere in the United States at all colleges and universities that have Greek life. We want to understand what it is like in the daily life of a frat bro. We all have our current vision of what a frat guy is but do we truly understand what they do and who they are. What are the differences between frats and the individuals that are involved with them. We want to not only understand what they are all about between individual fraternities but to also either prove or disprove any stereotypes that come along with being in a fraternity.
Fraternities would complete this probe kit in a span of a month, for every month of the year. Our end goal is to have this probe kit help college students in fraternities to record their experiences through these Mad Libs, to learn more about their personalities, interests and possibly the differences between the different fraternities based off of our observations.
- Kit Items
- Account Picture
- Snapchat Probe Kit
- $20 VISA Gift Card
- Mad Libs
- Go to ProBroKit.com and create an account. Most of your work will be done through this website!
- Set your website account profile to a picture that describes you well.
- Use Breathometer 3x day (Morning, Noon, Night) connected to smartphone app.
- Add “ProBros” on Snapchat and continue snapchatting like any other day.
- Buy something with your VISA card and describe it to us on the website.
- Complete at least 1 Mad Lib a week on website.
- 1 Month
- Distributing The Kit
- Send the kit to the participating frats in the mail.
- Returning The Kit
- They can keep whatever they get so there is nothing to return.
Documentation of the overall presentation of your kit, including possible instructions, timeline for completion, method of distribution and return.
Disclaimer: All the information provided by the user is confidential and will only be used for our own research purposes.
The users will be given a website where they will create an account that is only visible to us for study purposes. No information will be publicized.
Documentation of each element of your probe kit, including written descriptions, photographs, illustrations etc.
1) Account picture
From the first instruction of the Probe kit, the user will have to create a ProBro account on the website. We will ask them in the instructions to upload a picture that they think describes themselves well. Through this we can examine certain characteristics and understand what type of people these Frat Bros might look like based on common physical appearances.
2) Breathometer connected to smartphone
A breathalyzer is a device mostly used by the police department to detect the amount of alcohol content in a person’s breath. The specific breathalyzer we are going to work with is the one that connects to smartphones, known as the Breathometer. This device would be simply attached to the headphone port of the smartphone. The data would be later stored in an application that we have specifically created for our cultural community to use, in order to collect and share a month’s worth of breathalyzer data. We are hoping for our community members to complete at least 2-3 breathalyzer test per day, one in the morning, one at noon and one before going to bed. We cannot guarantee their use of this device at those specific times (especially the one before going to bed.) All the results we get from this part of the application would be anonymous.
3) Snapchat Probe Kit account
Community will send their snapchats to the snapchat account so that we can examine their lives. With the snapchat it will allow us to see what they are doing at different times of the day and since it is already a popular app we can see what they are sending to their friends and fellow bros and it won’t really interfere with their day to day activities. This will allow us to get a deeper understanding of what they actually do as opposed to just following a scheduled list of tasks that aren’t normally part of their daily routine.
4) $20 Visa gift card
We will be sending each fraternity that participates in the probe kit a $20 VISA gift card. The purpose of sending a VISA gift card is that it allows the fraternity to spend the money anywhere on whatever they desire. All they have to do is keep the receipt and post it under their account on the ProBro website. Doing this allows us to get a better understanding of the frat bro culture as well as insight on the types of things that they spend money on. Are they spending the money to benefit the rest of the fraternity, themselves, or just for some extra booze? This will allow us to answer that question as well as see the differences among various fraternities and the way that they act.
5) Mad Libs
Mad libs is a word game where the user will write down a list of words to fill in blanks in a story that must match the given parts of speech. Since Mad Libs are a simple and fun activity, it will be easy to get users to complete them. This will be used to capture the vocabulary of the community by examining the words they are using for the Mad Libs. Furthermore, this activity can be used to understand the sense of humour of the community. The Probe Kit will contain instructions for the user to go to a ProBro website where they have to create an account which will be used for other parts of the probe kit as well. The user will also be asked to complete at least one Mad Lib a week.
Individual written reflection on your design process and the project experience overall; and discussion of the benefits and weaknesses not only of your kit, but of the probe process in general.
Nick: During the brainstorming part of our project, we had decided on creating a kit that was fun and creative in probing a community. Although we had no real reason to choose Fraternities as our community, it appeared to be a fun choice for this project. Due to already seeing other projects presented, it seemed like a good idea to stray away from the common ideas such as picture taking methods with a camera. We brainstormed and bounced ideas around to come up with a list of possible methods. At first we weren’t sure whether to imply certain stereotypes into our Probe kit, but ended up deciding that it would make the methods more interesting for ourselves and even the users.
I think our Probe Kit would be good at interesting enough to the user that they would enjoy and fulfill the tasks at hand. Most of the ideas are not bothersome to a user’s daily routine except maybe the breathalyzer, but which could still be fun to many of the user’s. Our probe process would be effective in not losing data when users don’t send the kit back because we do not need the kit back. Since all of our information is sent online through the website and the breathalyzer app, we do not have to worry about information being lost. One negative aspect of our kit is that it may come off as offensive in that we are implying that fraternities are always drinking. At the same time, some users might pride themselves in that which could turn out positive or negative on different types of people.
Cody: For our design process we basically just all starting thinking of a community and after a while we had decided upon fraternities. I think we chose this because none of us were in a frat and all were pretty curious if they were like everyone thinks they are. Then after that we worked on the actual probes themselves and what we wanted to use. We first came up with a madlibs which I think was cool because we could see their vocabulary (nouns, verbs, etc.) and see how it compared to our own. We then got to the breathalyzer which would help to see if frats did drink as much and as often as we assume. Then with snapchat we can see their daily activities and see what they send to their friends on a daily basis. I think that our probkit is pretty creative and we as a team were able to build off of one another. I think we were pretty creative when it came to some of the actual items in the kit because we were able to utilize technology like smartphones when it came to the snapchat idea. It allowed to not directly change the prob users entire schedule because it is typically already part of it since a lot of people use it already. I feel like we did have to stereotype a lot when it came down to thinking of ideas for probes like the breathalyzer, but I feel like this is important to help truly understand what is going on at fraternities.
Brandon: In the brainstorming phase we all brought to the table a few communities that we didn’t know much about. We knew from the start that we wanted to create a kit that would be fun but also useful in gaining some information about a community that none of us had experience with. We eventually decided to go with the ProBro kit, a kit that would be used to probe the fraternity communities. This kit would contain a number of methods to probe such as a MadLib task, breathalyzer, and using the mobile SnapChat app in order to get an idea of what it’s really like being in a fraternity. All of the data we collect would be through an app that we would build ourselves and the participating fraternities would just download the application to their phones. We decided to go forward with these methods of probing and data collection because we wanted to take a more modern approach to probing rather than going forward with the traditional methods.
I believe these tasks that we came up with for probing the fraternity communities will help provide a lot of insight on what it is actually like to be in a fraternity. Fraternities have a lot of stereotypes that are associated with them due to what people see in movies, tv shows, and the things that they hear from other people. This is nothing new as these stereotypes have been portrayed in films for decades. While some of our tasks, such as the breathalyzer, may seem offensive, we are going forward with it because we believe it’ll help gather data that will prove that not all fraternities spend their entire days drinking. I believe that by using our kit we would be able to get a true understanding of the fraternity community and realize that not all of the stereotypes are true, especially for all of the independent fraternities.
Pranavi: Going into the probe kit pressure project idea we weren’t sure about what to put down for what should be in the kit, since none of us had any direct connection to fraternities and we definitely did not know how the Greek system worked. This entire process has been in the experimental phase and we went based off the Greek life stereotypes. As we went through ideas, we went based off those stereotypes, which meant highlighting the party aspect of their lives. Most of the items that we have laid out could be offensive to the ‘bros’ that we have this kit built for. All these items were catered to trying to understand what kind of people are in different fraternities and what kind of habits they have as a whole, comparative to other fraternities. All these items could be easily accessible and tracked through an umbrella application which would feel less of a hassle for students to use and keep track of, especially when we spend hours on our phones during the day. One of the team members had the idea of Mad Libs as an item, which is actually a great way to understand what kind of background and education and humor they have through their word choice. The breathalyzer was an idea to see how much of a party animal each person was and we made it more accessible by having it small and easily attached to a smartphone to an application. Snapchat,the personal picture and the gift card were ideas we came up with to understand habits and lifestyles. Overall this entire project was really entertaining especially when we were trying to think to scenarios when the bros would use these items.