As of May 31, 2009, the Fraternity is discontinuing its Sinfonia Circle community, the brothers-only social network launched in early 2007. The service is being discontinued because of low user traffic, which resulted in a low perception of value for the collegiate dues revenue invested in the product. In its place, the Fraternity is committing itself fully to social networking on Facebook, which has become the dominant standard in social networking within the last two years.
Sinfonia Circle was a customized community based on a template offered by Affinity Circles, a leading company in closed-network online communities. Affinity Circles has many other clients, including other fraternities and many college alumni associations, all of whom have virtually identical, closed-network communities for their members.
When Sinfonia Circle was launched in 2007, social networking was experiencing ecstatic growth and there was a perceived value in having a closed network for brothers to connect with each other. Additionally, at the time Sinfonia Circle was launched, Facebook was still largely composed of college students due to its origins as a college-student network, so very few alumni used Facebook. However, since 2007 Facebook has come to dominate online social networking, even among alumni, and the perceived value among Sinfonians to connect in a separate, closed-network community has faded.
Those who have activated their profile at Sinfonia Circle will be able to access it until May 31. The terms of the Fraternity’s agreement with Affinity Circles, Inc., pertaining to confidentiality of personal information extend in perpetuity beyond the cancellation of the active community. Therefore, users should not be concerned that their personal data is at risk following the discontinuation of the service. Those wishing to verify that their data is deleted are welcome to do so by making such changes to their profile prior to May 31.
In recent months, the Fraternity has greatly expanded its presence on Facebook. The Fraternity now has its own official Facebook fan page, where members can obtain the latest news updates, access media such as photos and video content, connect with other brothers, and easily access the “cause” for the Sinfonia Educational Foundation. The last of these functions, the SEF “cause,” has generated over $1,400 in donations since its inception.
Because the Fraternity does not have direct access to the contact information of users connecting to its fan page, brothers wanting to update their personal information will need to do so using “MyDesktop” at www.sinfonia.org. By logging into the Fraternity website, brothers can update their personal data and access other brothers-only material.
In the coming months, the Fraternity will continue to build its presence on Facebook. Accordingly, any brothers interested in donating development services for new applications and content are welcome to contact Jeremy Evans, assistant executive director, at email@example.com.