Facebook: The New Craze
Launched barely two years ago, this virtual yearbook defines itself as “an online directory that connects people through social networks at schools.” It currently has over seven million members from all over the world. As of March 19th 2006, it ranks seventh in terms of overall hits on the Internet, right behind Google.com. It is similar to sites such as MySpace.com, the difference being that to register you must be a member of a college or a high school. Only around 20 countries are on the list outside of the US, and AUC is the only university online from Egypt. Universities are added to Facebook by student request, and in our case it was Nancy El-Gindy, History and Political Science junior, who put AUC on the map back in September ‘05.
Members have their own profile, with the standard photo album, friend list, groups and so on. But there are also extra features, with the most notable being your personal “wall,” which is a way for you to send messages to your friends and have them send you. Unlike profile comments, the wall is simply a place to “talk” with your friends by writing on their wall and can be, as I found out, extremely addictive. Facebook reports that its members “spend an average of 18 minutes on the site each day.”
You can also “poke” people, which is a totally useless but nonetheless addictive feature, kind of like giving people “missed calls” just to say hi.
In addition to the wall, there are other features that are university-related. Current events at AUC are listed, and you can post announcements of upcoming ones. You can also add all the courses you are currently taking in university, and can find out who else is taking them with you. There is a “Pulse” page, telling you of the latest trends at AUC. Groups are restricted to within the university, and I especially liked the “I’m NOT a BRAT…am not am not…I’m an AUCian!” and the “How Bout Those AUC Cats with One Eye & Half an Ear Missing?” groups.
Although the craze has yet to pick up speed here in AUC, with just over 500 members (with the majority being study abroads); approximately 10 AUCians register every week, and so I expect to see a “Facebook is Killing My GPA” group at AUC very soon.