Eighteen hundred students at the University of Miami are connected; are you? From internet junkies to frat boy preps, all ‘Canes seem to be infected with the new addiction of registering with the online directory thefacebook.com.
On Sept. 24, the University became instantaneously linked to over 368,000 students in 109 universities nationwide. Created in February 2004 by four Harvard students, in eight short months the website exploded in popularity and extended to other schools. According to thefacebook.com co-founder and spokesperson Chris Hughes, the site does no self-promotion; it relies solely on the word of mouth from current users.
“We started the site at Harvard, not really thinking that it would go much further than our school,” Hughes said. “After so many people signed up, we realized pretty fast that students at other schools might enjoy using the site.”
Thefacebook.com has no formal relationship with any of the registered universities. However, students can register within their university community for free and create a profile that can include everything from their favorite music and movies, to their political views, to what their interests are and even what classes they are enrolled in. Students can then search other registered students who have the same interests as them, attend the same university, are enrolled in the same classes, are members of the same fraternity or sorority, or they can even reconnect with high school classmates.
“Students use the site to find information on their peers, to make connections with friends and acquaintances and to communicate with one another. It’s a reference tool and a means for communication,” Hughes said.
Bari Lieberman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.