On the introduction of OrgSync

Organizations such as educational institutions, greatly benefit from creating a sense of community among its members. They also need to have an effective way to broadcast information to everyone. This school, NYU Shanghai, is attempting to use OrgSync as a platform for business-related conversations withing the school, but it seems the attempts are only mildly successful.

There are two major obstacles to the full integration of OrgSync into students’ lives: lack of utility and a pre-existing network. For NYUSH, OrgSync is essentially little more than a broadcast service. There is a certain sense of community in that each member is asked to join an “organization.” This very action, however, has done more harm than good. Because the “organizations” include both student clubs AND groups that cannot be opted into, like “Residence Life” and “Student Government,” joining these groups is equivalent to being put on the mailing list. Whenever an organization sends a message or adds a new item, it gets sent to the emails of the users (unless they have disabled the notification). Though an email-like messaging service exists on OrgSync, people rarely use it because it is inconvenient. To get to it a user has to log in with his or her NYU information then separately navigate to the NYUSH community before being able to access the right contacts. The site also fails in that it does not have a forum, or a place for discussion, outside of a comments area under each post.

Had OrgSync been introduced before the NYUSH Facebook groups, it might have had a chance to survive. Unfortunately, Facebook is a mammoth of a service that is not easily replaced. Facebook fulfills all of the functions of OrgSync in a familiar, relatively streamlined way. If a club wants to announce an event, it will post an advertisement in at least one– though most usually post in all– of the groups. The four groups have a combined total of over 600 members. These groups also allow discussions in a way that feels awkward on OrgSync. Both sites host discussions through comments, but Facebook caches comments after they have reached a certain number. This keeps particularly long discussions from impeding the flow of the infinite scroll. Users can flick through the posts with ease.

NYU Shanghai, then, faces the challenge of getting more people to use OrgSync, because OrgSync is the official platform for official business (submitting rooms requests and filling budget forms). Most importantly, NYUSH plans to use membership data on OrgSync to extrapolate information and determine budget allocations. Club leaders recognize this predicament, but they are also very aware of the limitations of OrgSync. So far, this has been a problem without a solutions. The NYUSH students are fairly faithful to Facebook. NYUSH admin is challenged with either figuring out a way to use Facebook, or creating a system that’s simply better.

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