Why we built an Alumni App

By Christopher Seidl

Burgmann has a world class alumni network. Our community is comprised of professionals at the apex of their respective fields and is characterised by a relentless striving towards excellence. I felt this the first time I arrived at Burgmann and through dozens of interviews I conducted with alumni it was consistently identified as our defining feature. In my life I have never experienced anything like it and I wanted to capture and distill this spirit of excellence through this project.

Every technology or social network has its own distinctive feel and ethos. For instagram it is relentless FOMO and inadequacy, for Facebook and Twitter it is sprawling falsity and fabricated information. The dominant social networks of our time are all social tools we regret using. No one is proud of how much time they spend on Facebook, no one wants to increase the time they spend on Instagram, no one is happy about the power which a handful of silicon valley companies now wield over our psychological well being.

It is regrettable that the technologies which dominate the 21st century are considered by the vast majority of users to be necessary evils – many people wish they could delete their social media accounts but are locked into using them because that’s what everyone else is doing. It has even reached the stage where Instagram is trying to water down the potency of its platform – introducing the ability for users to set a daily usage limit and removing likes from its interface – because these platforms are so detrimental for their users. Indeed, barring YouTube, all major internet based third party content distribution services have been deemed psychologically damaging.

The greatest social change of the last twenty years has been precipitated by the rise of social media. These platforms have reshaped the way we interact with each other and reframed our self perception. I would even go as far as to argue that through his 1.7 billion users (as of July 2019), Mark Zuckerburg wields more political power than most world leaders. Think about how distressing it is that this restructuring of our social lives around a new technological paradigm is collectively seen as hugely detrimental and regrettable.

We have reached a stage where more of our social lives are conducted online than in person. This is not something we can move away from, it happened in the first place because there is immense power within social networking. Whether we like it or not, social networks are going to be an integral part of our entire lives, they are integral to how we document, share and evaluate our real world actions.

Through this app, I wanted to do something different and create something which empowers our community rather than debasing it. I wanted to capture our shared spirit of excellence and encapsulate it within a smartphone app which you can carry around in your pocket everywhere you go. I wanted to try and make a new social tool which is designed as a celebration of our community and a living compendium of everything our alumni have achieved.

This is a new way of social networking arranged around an existing sense of connection and helping you stay in contact with your friends from college. I am extremely excited to see how it goes and I am very interested in any feedback or suggestions you have.

Burg Alumni App Guidelines

The link to download the iPhone App is: https://apps.apple.com/au/app/burg-alumni/id1475637390

The link to access the web version is: https://burgmanncollege.com/

Please email alumni@burgmann.anu.edu.au for the App access code.

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