Friday, March 15, 2013

MyLuteLife isn't looking so lively

Student website loses fight against unpopularity

by Stephanie Beckman, Guest Writer

MyLuteLife is joining the ranks of, and Windows Live Search in the Internet of yesteryear. The site will officially go dark on June 1 after being active in one form or another for a total of six years.

The idea for MyLuteLife began in Student Life as a method for clubs and organizations to keep in contact with their members and attract new ones. 

Student Involvement and Leadership’s (SIL) Lace Smith, assistant director for technology and social media, was part of the brains behind MyLuteLife’s conception. 

 “[Before MyLuteLife] it was more like one person standing on a mountaintop shouting, ‘I have this club, you should come to me,’” Smith said. 

 To solve this problem for student organizations, SIL searched for a software system that would work. This search happened before Google released their education applications including Drive and Calendar. 

Pacific Lutheran University launched OrgSync in 2007, a system similar to MyLuteLife, and SIL conducted a survey to monitor how effective it was.

Smith said the typical response they received was that students did not recognize OrgSync. It was another log in to remember because it didn’t use ePass, and it didn’t have the same power and influence of other technologies at the time, such as Facebook.

PLU then created MyLuteLife out of OrgSync in 2010 and it joined the ranks of Sakai, Gmail and  Banner in the ePass accessible pantheon.

Previously, OrgSync had required a separate log in for access, which had relegated it outside the official PLU canon.

Once MyLuteLife’s code was scripted and the site was running, many organizations across campus began to use the technology, notably ASPLU, The Mooring Mast and the Diversity Center’s Rieke scholars.

Rieke Scholars had also documented their volunteer hours in the Diversity Center through MyLuteLife until the November switch.  

Princess Reese, a Rieke scholar diversity advocate, switched the Rieke scholars from using MyLuteLife to Google Docs.

 Reese said, “the process the Riekes went through to fill in their hours was too many steps, and many students were using that as an excuse to not log in.”

Some clubs use MyLuteLife while others utilize different forms of communication.

Rachel Miller, secretary for the Queer Ally Student Union, said, “I honestly never really thought about using it [MyLuteLife] because in my experience most people don't use it.” Miller said her club instead uses e-mail, Facebook and Google Docs.

Even though MyLuteLife will be leaving, its services are not.

Smith said she is going to continue working with clubs and organizations to make sure they have the technological resources they need.

“[MyLuteLife’s] ideal was very good in its premise, but we have better technology now that is more seamless, and we don’t have to pay that price tag,” Smith said.  

MyLuteLife was found in the basement bathroom of Mordvedt Library in a pool of its own HTML script. A service will be held in June, and perhaps Sakai will offer a eulogy.