By: Ceci Bair
While working as an intern at CCNY, I was introduced to Arounja.org at first glance it looks a lot like Yelp or Urbanspoon, but, when you start updating and adding resources it is easy to see that Arounja can be helpful in more ways than trying to find a good restaurant or see the ratings on a hotel. Not only is Arounja.org resourceful in finding new things to do, it’s also a way to find community groups, health services, and educational resources, and more. After updating countless entries for local soccer camps, block clubs, church groups, crisis services, etc, it was easy to see that this website could do a lot more for the community so I began to think of how Arounja could be a resource for everyday life.
Arounja is designed to provide the public with everything that Erie County has to offer. My goal over the past three weeks at CCNY was to update Arounja.org so that it could reach a broader audience. I did that by adding schools, school activities, new attractions, town events, art galleries, food trucks, festivals, and concerts. By adding these resources and events Arounja has increased its cultural relevance in Erie County. New events were also added to make it easier to find upcoming things to do in all of the different categories that encompass Arounja. This resource has so many services to offer which can help build up the Buffalo and surrounding area with all of the education, culture, and values that this region has to offer.
To broaden the base of arounja.org users, the community at large needs to be more involved in updating resources and adding events to it. Creating a twitter account for Arounja was one way to move towards this goal. Social media today is used by almost everyone, by starting a Twitter account for arounja.org this creates a bigger network of people who are aware of arounja and what it can do. If all of the updates and new events for arounja can be broadcast on Twitter this will help increase the site’s traffic and relevance to the social media audience. One objective is that local programs, schools, events, or companies will start looking to see if their events are on Arounja by checking the Twitter for new updates. If not, they could use the website themselves and then let CCNY know via Twitter. If others look at the twitter and find an event or attraction then they will tell others about it.
Looking towards the future developing Arounja into an app will make it more accessible to the community. With the creation of an app, more and more teenagers would be open to using it because almost everything is accessible on our smartphones, and when something isn’t accessible via smartphone it makes it harder to use. With arounja being available via app it will increase the reach and benefit of such a great resource! In all, I have enjoyed working on Arounja and giving my own input into it.