Unmasking Facebook.com

Facebook: a revolutionary ‘friending’ tool, or just too much information?

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Like its name suggests, Facebook is the new online social network that puts names to faces. It allows you to look up that guy you randomly hooked up with last night or that girl who worked out beside you at the PEC last week. Consider also the number of hours you can spend people-browsing, and procrastinating form. So, what exactly is so great about Facebook? Some highlights include:

1. The profile

One of the features of Facebook is that you can only become a member if you attend an approved institution of higher education, although Facebook has recently opened up a high school version. Limiting the Facebook audience to students adds a sense of exclusivity to Facebook that only adds to its trendiness. It also creates a sort of “safety bubble” as only students of the same age as you and I can participate in the network.

Your Facebook profile lists the friends you have at Queen’s and at other universities. It even tells you if you and someone else have mutual friends. Profiles can include your picture, contact information, interests, favourite music, a list of friends you’ve accepted, and anything else you could possibly want other people to know about you.

Also, most items listed in your profile act as links. When you click on your birthday, it shows you who else at Queen’s shares the same birthday as you. Want to see who else at Queen’s is from your hometown? Simply click the name of your hometown on your own profile and Facebook will provide you with the list you want. How else would you know the other 500+ people on Facebook from Toronto?

2. The “friend” function

You can set an option to only allow your approved “Facebook friends” to view your profile, as if you’re screening phone calls—a convenient way to keep unwanted prying eyes out.

3. Groups

Groups: in our opinion, the best thing about Facebook. We love them, and spend hours browsing them or creating ones to feed our insatiable addiction. You’ll meet people within these groups, and the best part is that they all go to Queen’s. You’re actually quite likely to see these people walking down the street or sitting three rows behind you in a lecture.

Our favourite groups so far include: “Holy Shit, I’m AWKWARD,” “Queen’s Procrastinators Society,” “Sodexho Has Probably Damaged My Internal Organs,” and “My Foreign Language Skills Improve When I Am Drunk.” Facebook is for everyone. You can choose to make it as serious or as silly as you like. Pictures are definitely not model quality, and people revel in displaying their most recent ridiculous adventure.

While some people may refuse to give in to the Facebook revolution, most willingly take part in the fun—after all, it is hard to resist. So hop on the bandwagon. If you give it half a chance, you’ll soon be a member in good standing of the “I Heart Facebook” group.

What is Facebook?

•Created on Feb. 4, 2004, Facebook.com’s official definition is an “online directory that connects people through social networks at schools.”

•The site’s creator, Mark Zuckerberg, was a sophomore at Harvard when he came up with the idea for the site. Since launching Facebook.com, he has quit school and moved to California to run the site full time.

•Originally only open to university students, the site now accepts high school members, with an invitation from an existing member.

•About 2,000 colleges in the U.S. are enrolled in the network.

•Close to six million members are registered with Facebook.com. Sixty-seven per cent are said to log onto the network every day, with 10,000-20,000 people are signing up to join the site daily.

•Members are grouped broadly by their universities. Then, if they choose to display more information, they can be traced back to their faculty—or even individual classes they are enrolled in for the year—and their high school.

•Facebook.com offers various ways to contact others, including one-on-one private messaging, posting short messages on the public “wall” displayed with your profile, and “poking”—where a finger appears on your homepage, with a message “you have been poked by (insert name).”

—Sources: Facebook.com, and suntimes.com

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