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Facebook.com comes to ND

Eileen Duffy | Thursday, September 2, 2004

“Someone has requested you as a friend.”This coveted phrase is music to the ears of users of thefacebook.com. It is a new means of communication and is quickly sweeping across the nation. Thefacebook.com is an online directory that connects college students through social networks. Founded in February 2004 by Harvard junior Mark Zuckenberg, thefacebook has now expanded to 58 colleges and universities, the latest of which – added Aug. 22 – is Notre Dame.Call it the dogbook on steroids. After registering, users can upload their pictures, create profiles and begin adding friends – from Notre Dame or from any other participating university. From there, they can message friends, “poke” another user if he is also logged in, or visualize their social networks (friends, friends’ friends, and so on). Users’ profiles can share everything from their political views to their relationship statuses to their current class schedules. For those interested in meeting single conservatives who enjoy watching “The Shawshank Redemption” or those who are desperate for help in Accounting 231, a list of people who vote the same way, play the same sports, enjoy the same activities or take the same classes is just a click away.”It has never been easier to find people that are like you,” said sophomore Simona Fernandes. “I’ve found female math majors that I never knew existed. It’s just so great, because you can get help with work from classmates that you wouldn’t have known before thefacebook.”Thefacebook also offers a link to all registered graduates of the same high school. “I love thefacebook because it is a great way to connect with people from your high school,” said sophomore Katie Baron. “For example, I have gotten in touch with about 10 people from my high school who go to other colleges on thefacebook network. I’m not interested in using it as a way to meet guys, just as a way to catch up with old friends.” Facebook’s connections can be even further reaching. “Thefacebook helped me find an old buddy from England who is at [the University of Southern California],” said England native Mike BurkesRevealing relationship status on a profile can also be a bit personal. Users can post whether they’re interested in meeting others for friendship, dating, a relationship, “random play” or even “whatever [they] can get.” Not everyone, however, loves thefacebook. Anne Dalebroux, a Boston College student who has been using thefacebook since May, expressed her growing dislike for the craze. “It is really stupid,” she said. “I think it stretches even the lowest of lows in wasting time.” Whether a curse or a blessing, thefacebook is rapidly spreading. There are over 220,000 network-wide users, and after little more than a week, Notre Dame already has over 1,000.