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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Net at u.: TheFaceBook phenom

If you have a college student in your family, you may've heard about (I spoke with just such a person about Gonzaga University's version over Thanksgiving dinner). The site/phenomenon "began 10 months ago with five Harvard students and is now the most popular way to either network or waste time for a million college students at around 300 colleges, from Yale to the University of the Pacific," the New York Times reports. It's not just the online version of the staple-bound collection of fellow freshmen's high school graduation pictures. It's a site-ful of an entire student body's ever-updatable photos and profiles, with lists of favorite movies, books, deliverable foods, tunes, etc., as well as relationships status, of course. Along the lines of "click here to see if this babe [male or female] is available." It's so entertaining, the Times says, that "it's the Swiss Army knife of procrastination." Examples at Princeton, where "students with a few hours on their hands can sit in their dorms and check out the profiles of the 395 members of People Against Popped Collars (the preppy look of rolling up the collar of your knit shirt)," the Times reports, or "he or she could join groups like People Against Groups (15 members, first meeting July 23, 2025) ... Future Trophy Wives of America and groups actually about real things like politics or the outdoors."

In its coverage of e-face books, USATODAY cites others, such as and, which have discussion boards and host students' blogs, or online journals. What does your university student think - do these services enhance or stunt his/her social development (the latter is what some critics say), or is s/he already pretty socially developed? Send an email or click on "comments" just below to post a message in this blog.


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