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The Facebook makes me feel more of an outsider!
November 7, 2005 7:29 AM   Subscribe

85% of college students now use Facebook. With such popularity schools such as MU are examing Facebook usage and "a few students have been turned in for content that violates the conduct code." The phone-directory-on-steroids even attracts employers, "Linda Kaiser ... spoke with two people — an employer and a parent — who used Facebook to screen candidates for employment." Oh and for the Greeks the Facebook is creating problems of its own.
posted by geoff. (50 comments total)

 
I use the Facebook as nothing more than a place for my phone number and contact information (I don't think anyone cares that I like Bill Evans and Dave Brueback more than I care they like Dave Matthews). Still, while I realize its within the right of schools and employers to act upon publically available information, it is still incredibly inane. If anything we should be punishing students for having generic, uncreative keggers with cliched themes and not punishing them for having the keggers themselves.
posted by geoff. at 7:32 AM on November 7, 2005


That 85% number triggers my BS detector.
posted by smackfu at 7:40 AM on November 7, 2005


I should have been more precise, about 85% of students in supported colleges have a profile up on FaceBook but that was just a lead in to show how many people are potentiall touched if schools decide to become little Facebook policeman. The most touched being Facebook's ad revenues.
posted by geoff. at 7:43 AM on November 7, 2005


smackfu - It would, but you should see these kids. When I was at BU, you could walk through any computer lab and see half of the computers logged in to the facebook site.
posted by setanor at 7:44 AM on November 7, 2005


Actually, the company claims that 85% of students at the supported colleges (only 882 of approximately 2000 US colleges are supported).

However, I'm curious how they got their numbers--as an employee & grad student at a large public university I can confirm that Facebook is popular, but I'm skeptical that 85% is accurate, especially given the popularity of fake profiles at Temple University alone (I found those five fakes in about 4 minutes of searching).

Just saying.
posted by illovich at 7:45 AM on November 7, 2005


85% IS a BS number..... I registered, did a search for the name "Smith" and got only 160 hits....

and the "just a lead in" as a reason to post incorrect information is a bit weak...

interesting that I could register at all... guess it is worth hanging on to that old e/mail address at a college I never attended..heh..
posted by HuronBob at 7:46 AM on November 7, 2005


Those seem to proliferate more at Temple than at any other place. I wonder why.
posted by setanor at 7:46 AM on November 7, 2005


HuronBob, when I did a global search for Smith, I got this as a result:

Displaying results 1 - 10 out of more than 500.
posted by setanor at 7:47 AM on November 7, 2005


HuronBob: You probably only searched your own school. A global search for "Smith" returns significantly more than 160 names.
posted by punishinglemur at 7:55 AM on November 7, 2005


Or, uh, what setanor said.
posted by punishinglemur at 7:56 AM on November 7, 2005


I'm not that skeptical of the 85% number. It might be high, but it does seem like a hell of a lot of people use the thing. I can only think of a few people who don't. Though I might just know the kind of people who would use it.

For what it's worth we've discussed face book before
posted by philcliff at 7:56 AM on November 7, 2005


Huronbob stands corrected... hmmmm... damn... I hate it when that happens!
posted by HuronBob at 7:59 AM on November 7, 2005


setanor: Those seem to proliferate more at Temple than at any other place. I wonder why.

I'm not sure, but unless you have some data to back up your assertion -- "gee, the only place where someone says there's a bunch of false data... that's the only place where there's much false data tho!" -- I would have to guess that it's a bullshit assumption.

So, how long have you worked for Facebook?
posted by illovich at 8:01 AM on November 7, 2005


Friending, poking freshmen deemed inappropriate

Killjoys.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:03 AM on November 7, 2005


while I realize its within the right of schools and employers to act upon publically available information

I don't know, depends on how they act on it. If it's to discriminate and harass, I'm not happy to find out it's ok.
posted by nervousfritz at 8:09 AM on November 7, 2005


illovich - My assumption is based on numperous profiles I see where people have legitimate friends spread around various schools (2 at USC, 4 at Brandeis, etc...) and then have 45 novelty profiles as friends from Temple.

If I worked for Facebook, I likely wouldn't be sitting around in my underwear on a Monday morning trying to find things to sell in my apartment so I can go to a concert tonight.
posted by setanor at 8:10 AM on November 7, 2005


That's 85% of American students now use Facebook.

Believe it or not, there are other nations on this planet.
posted by quarsan at 8:19 AM on November 7, 2005


quarsan - see clarified post above

85% of students at the supported colleges...
posted by setanor at 8:20 AM on November 7, 2005


Also of interest, Facebook now offers "unlimited" photo uploads. I wonder what the extent of their generosity is, and if anyone's tried to test it...
posted by setanor at 8:22 AM on November 7, 2005


I need to sign up for this thing. Do they let alumnis in?
posted by delmoi at 8:24 AM on November 7, 2005


Of course how many pictures can one have of holding a variety of inexpensive liquor bottles?
posted by geoff. at 8:24 AM on November 7, 2005


I bet it's real big at Bob Jones University.
posted by kozad at 8:26 AM on November 7, 2005


As something that didn't exist by the time I left school, this makes me feel old. And I'm not really that old.
posted by killdevil at 8:31 AM on November 7, 2005


I need to sign up for this thing. Do they let alumnis in?

I think you need an email address from a supported school. The only address that worked for me was my .edu address.
posted by Fat Guy at 8:32 AM on November 7, 2005


Oh yeah, I have a Facebook profile.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:32 AM on November 7, 2005


85% of college students now use Facebook.

There is no way that statistic is even close to accurate, even the "updated" assertion would still be incredibly suspect.

Unless the accounts are automatically created at "supported" schools for their entire entering classes.

The fake/novelty accounts are what inflates the number, and why they think they have 85% penetration.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:41 AM on November 7, 2005


Are there really that many fake accounts? You have to have an e-mail address and each e-mail address is locked to an account. How many people really have access to keep creating fake e-mail addresses? As stated above walking into any computer lab will show a good majority of students using the facebook. Especially with high school seniors going to become college students the Facebook is the thing to do.
posted by geoff. at 8:47 AM on November 7, 2005


At my school at least, the 85% is probably accurate if not a little low. I've found that you can assume that anyone you meet has a facebook profile, and you're probably right.
posted by mayfly wake at 8:55 AM on November 7, 2005


Are there really that many fake accounts? You have to have an e-mail address and each e-mail address is locked to an account.

At some schools account holders can create new mailing lists of their own. To online services where unique email addresses are required for accounts these look different, but they can all direct to the same account in the end. This may or may not be the case for the fake accounts mentioned here - I don't know anything about Facebook in particular.
posted by whatzit at 9:05 AM on November 7, 2005


Not having any first hand experience of this "greek" thing, what is it about, and why do people willingly subject themselves to this sort of weird behaviour modification? Why do they feel threatened when their members network outside their own group? Or am I missing the point completely?

All my knowlddge of this peculiar institution comes from Animal House.
posted by meehawl at 9:40 AM on November 7, 2005


meehawl a lot of it is selective snobbery, but I think a lot of the Greek life is very structured for legal reasons. If poking and adding people as friends were construed as harrassment or hazing they'd get in trouble with their school. Hazing's taken very seriously and if it does happen, they try to keep it as private and secret as possible.
posted by geoff. at 9:46 AM on November 7, 2005


Meehawl, most campuses have a limited amount of contact (sometimes called silence) allowed between current sorority members and potential new members before their recruitment period. It's supposed to lessen the amount of pressure on girls who are rushing to join a specific group. If it's someone a sorority member has contact with regularly, like a sister or someone who's already a friend, it's allowed.

Sororities have also had to deal with how to disaffiliate Rho Chi's (recruitment counselors for girls who are rushing) on facebook -- even if they're not in a "Kappa Kappa Gamma" group, if all of their friends are Kappas, it's pretty easy for those in their Rho Chi group to figure out who they're affiliated with, especially with the "Groupies" feature (which identifies Facebook members who aren't part of a group, but are connected to many of the members in one.)

I have a friend who's a residence director at a private liberal arts school; she's had to fire or reprimand a couple of her RAs because of inappropriate things they've posted on Facebook.
posted by ThatSomething at 9:55 AM on November 7, 2005


I run computer labs at a univeristy and facebook has become as popular as AIM on campus. I was a student in the early days of AIM and remember watching the revolution in the labs as it started taking off. The facebook has had a similar aspect. I also find it funny that somebody could actually have 500 "friends" at 1 university.
posted by Numenorian at 10:30 AM on November 7, 2005


Not having any first hand experience of this "greek" thing, what is it about, and why do people willingly subject themselves to this sort of weird behaviour modification?

So far as I can tell, guys do it so they can score with sorority girls. God only knows why the girls do it...
posted by afroblanca at 10:31 AM on November 7, 2005


smackfu writes "That 85% number triggers my BS detector."

Me too. I don't see 85% uptake of e-mail at my school. Yes 99% people who hang around in computer labs may be using it but they aren't the complete student body.
posted by Mitheral at 10:50 AM on November 7, 2005


I'm still confused. So sororities are like clubs with mutually exclusive memberships. And propsective members are not supposed to canvass for membership? And active members are not supposed to advertise membership. And clubs are not supposed to solicit members?

So this means things like buddy lists breach this ritual?

I can honestly say that this sounds very peculiar. I was in college and never heard of clubs with mutually exclusive memberships. In fact, quite the opposite as in Ireland most College clubs are in a ferocious struggle for "sign ups", because grant monies from student dues are divvied out each year roughly according to the number of signed-up memberships from the previous year. Maybe I was just not invited to the "right" clubs?
posted by meehawl at 11:06 AM on November 7, 2005


meehawl: fraternities and sororities are very peculiar beasts, and schools do have a lot of regualations about them. The Wikipedia article is a pretty complete general education on them. While broadly the term does include brotherhood organizations like Shriners and Knights of Colombus etc., the context here are the organizations at colleges. Nominally they are also fraternities of academics or service, but how far you have to stick your tongue in your cheek to say that depends on the school and particular organization.

They do canvass for membership, but usually only at specific times of the year and with very specific rules about when, where, and how, they might rush people (an example). As others pointed out above, the rules ostensibly reduce pressure on potential pledges and prevent hazing. So it's not that they are secret, or can't advertise for members, they just have very specific ways of doing them.

These are not like student groups supported by the university, but it's not that they are any more exclusive. Money just comes from different places. Fraternities and sororities get money from their national organization and membership/housing dues. They don't usually get as much (in %) money from the school - though there will certainly be exceptions, I don't know enough about the system to comment on that.

It is a peculiar system, I'll grant you that though.
posted by whatzit at 11:50 AM on November 7, 2005


85% of college students love the cool refreshing flavour of Pepsi Blue.
posted by C.Batt at 11:55 AM on November 7, 2005


Also, note that there are both national and local fraternities/sororities, and that rules for national organizations may be much stricter than those of local organizations (in that they standardize on the Strictest Common Denominator), and also the degree of influence of the organizations on the student body may also affect the strictness of the rules (a local fraternity in a university where the greek system is small and weak may have very few rules that are any different than, for example, the drama club, because there isn't the spectre of hazing and insane competition that may exist in a university with a strong greek system).
posted by Bugbread at 11:57 AM on November 7, 2005


Facebook is a lot of fun. It also is slightly more private-seeming than myspace or friendster. It's also great if you're nosey or enjoy tabloid scandal. UT in Austin has had a few notorious violent crimes this year; I'm happy to have screenshots of the facebook profiles of two kids who now are alleged murderers!
posted by Peter H at 12:17 PM on November 7, 2005


Somewhat related - I'm wondering about hi5.com - I've received invites from friends for it but hear it's bullshit and spyware. Anyone know?
posted by Peter H at 12:18 PM on November 7, 2005


I have a facebook profile but I wish I could delete it. Does anyone know how?
posted by speicus at 12:41 PM on November 7, 2005


speicus, I was very unhappy to find that someone had made me a profile and entered my private email address. Luckily, it sent a password to that address. I was able to delete my account [I assume, since I haven't gotten any more email from them.] Buried somewhere in the interface is a "close this account" option.

I must know a skewed group of students, because I highly doubt that 8 or 9 out of every 10 of them use facebook. Wonder how long it'll take this thing to go the way of Friendster and such, though - do people still use those? [Is there any more point to facebook than there was to Friendster?]
posted by ubersturm at 12:51 PM on November 7, 2005


I think I'll go to college just so I can get on Facebook. Also to get a degree. Also to meet women. Also because I want to be a mascot. But that's all.
posted by panoptican at 12:54 PM on November 7, 2005


In my computer lab, right now, I can see out of 12 visible screens, 8 on facebook. (we have over 100 computers in the lab, but I can't see all of them.)

I have a facebook profile, I have 171 friends on facebook (all but about ten of which are actual friends that I knew before facebook). I have friends at 45 different colleges. I'm connected to 94 people through the classes I'm taking and 5313 people through the friends I have.

All in all, I mostly only use it for contact information, and quick messages to people I never see.
posted by nile_red at 1:09 PM on November 7, 2005


At NCSU, administrators have recently browsed facebook in order to bring charges against, for example, students who posted pictures of underage drinking.
posted by Zurishaddai at 1:14 PM on November 7, 2005


Maybe the reason that the frats and sororities are so hostile toward Facebook is that they see it as a form of competition.

After all, the two ostensibly serve the same purpose. It just sounds to me like Facebook is doing a better job, without requiring the outrageous dues and conformity.
posted by afroblanca at 1:47 PM on November 7, 2005


I guess that focussing on US schools lets the facebook people avoid the kind of nationalisation that seems to overwhelm other networking sites.

As far as I can see, Friendster is now mostly Malaysian and Filipino, while Orkut has gone all Brazilian.
posted by meehawl at 2:34 PM on November 7, 2005


they're not focussing on US schools; they're adding more and more Canadian universities (I go to UBC, and we have the Facebook) and I imagine they'll spread farther outward later.
posted by heeeraldo at 3:59 AM on November 8, 2005


I'm still disappointed that they don't allow alumni to sign up. Fkrs.
posted by etoile at 10:06 AM on November 8, 2005


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