I don’t know how you think the Alumni Social Networking web app is working out but I hope you are having the same problems I am having. On a pure usability stand point it’s badly designed. What I can talk about the most is the College Union Board neighborhood which I set up last summer as one of the few students in the system. Once I set it up there was no way to add events or add news. Now you might tell me that there is no way to add events for individual groups and that perhaps it is only a collection of events and news of people in the groups. I have no idea if that’s true or not because I’ve never figured out how to add either. There is also no CUB message board. how do you set one up? I have no idea.
I’ve liked the idea for College Social Software since I heard about it. The problem is that it’s so hard to navigate and is so frustrating that even I can’t stand using it. I certainly hope you don’t think it is a success. Just by watching the message boards and class notes it seems participation is lackluster. While you don’t need to compete with monster successes such as thefacebook.com (If you haven’t researched other social networks I highly encourage you to do so.) you do need a enjoyable experience that is flexible to the users needs.
If I heard right you even pay for this horrible experience. My recommendation is to get rid of it. I think the people who would end up donating through the site would donate anyway as you must love the school to put up with the horrible social application. There is a great open source social software called Aroundme. Not only does it come with some beautiful graphic design but it is very easy to learn how to use. Completely written in php it should not be hard for small additions to be written by the IT staff of TCNJ.
I hope the social software can be improved soon. Other wise students will always turn to facebook and never take a second look at what you are offering.
Sincerely, Stefan Hayden