January 2, 2013

Dropbox – The Best Collaborative Work Tool You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

We’ve all been there – the dreaded group project that required sending documents and many files back and forth over email. This is not only time consuming but can really put a damper on how the group communicates and if the group work is running efficiently. From my own experiences in group projects that required a lot of file sharing, documents and emails can be lost in the sea of hundreds of emails college students receive daily. Attachments are often troublesome to open depending on certain formats and operating systems used by the sender/receiver. With all the various platforms and formats catered to each computer it can often be stressful to waste time on converting and figuring out formatting. After all we’re college students not IT technicians.

Luckily there is an extremely useful tool available for those who are not tech savvy and it’s called Dropbox. Dropbox is a free file hosting service that lets users share photos, documents and videos anywhere and with anyone who uses it. As a Dropbox user myself, I have used it to share hundreds of edited photos and proposals without having to email them to myself for back-up and keep track of changes through them. Dropbox will also always save versions of your files so that in case a file does get deleted you can restore it through the website.

Perhaps the best thing about Dropbox is that it’s a relatively simple tool to use and can be a “killer collaborative work tool” according to Lifehacker.com because of its ability to sync files from the Dropbox website instead of going to a local hard drive to access files. Lifehacker.com says “The problem with making everyone provide access to their machine for everyone else is that it’s hard to maintain and doesn’t work well when sharing a particular file with multiple people. Like the previous method, it requires some effort.”

Recently I put Dropbox to the test by using it to save a presentation for my capstone class. I found it very time saving because I did not have to go back and forth with email attachments to see changes on the presentation. Also, accommodating different group members’ schedules was difficult but using Dropbox allowed anyone of us to edit and make changes and share them easily with everyone. This saved my group so much valuable time and effort, not to mention my email being free of 20-page long threads.

So when it comes to deciding whether to sift through endless emails to access a file or to simply go to a website or application on your computer to see a file, the answer for which will save you an unnecessary technological headache is clear. Dropbox will simplify your life and work.
This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Jessica Lopez.

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