Online Facebook Raises Eyebrows Across Colgate Campus

Matthew Vaughn

Most students have heard of the Incunabulum, or Inky, a University publication containing a list of the year’s incoming first-years, their origins and their birthdays. Some have found this source useful for seeking out fellow first-years from the same region or to compile birthday lists. However, a large and growing number of students from Colgate and institutions across the country are using another sort of Incunabulum – one of a digital nature – to accomplish the same task using much larger arrays of data. Enter 790 students from Colgate University’s body of 2,700 – just over a quarter of the campus population – have signed on to participate in this pan-collegiate venture, which lists college students much in the same way our Inky does, but with a far greater wealth of information. Contact numbers, residence halls, interests, high school graduating classes and a complete list of enrolled courses are options about each person on the site. Click on an interest, for example, in the public part of someone’s profile and you are quickly presented with a list of other students who chose the same term to describe themselves.”The fact that it lists your specific class and section also could be useful if you need help with something in a class,” sophomore Jason Rand said. “I think of it as the Inky on steroids. It has just about everything you could want to know.” Students are faced with an innocuous registration process that is as simple as identifying yourself and the college you attend in the form of your campus e-mail address. After that process and a confirmation, you are ready to begin building your profile. This step is important because the number and types of people to which you are “linked” depends on what information you provide. A link is just that- a connection that forms part of your social network, which starts out small and grows as you establish links to other people through classes or mutual friendships. “Within about a week, I [was] linked with 57 other Colgate students and over 30 friends from colleges around the country,” Rand said.Since the information is dynamic, students can change it at will or use it to form groups of people sharing a common interest, organization or sporting activity. Sixteen such groups exist in Colgate’s section of the web for interests, such as Women’s Rugby, the Swinging Gates, a dubious “Stillman Gentleman’s Club” and one for Easties. This is another part of your social network. Your groups allow you to link up with other people and form inter-group networks.This all gives rise to a whole new glossary of terms. To name a few, to “friend” someone means to send them a friend request as a precursor to establishing a link. You can also “poke” others, a feature which is as ambiguous as “friending” someone is useful. There are even “groupies,” folks who cannot seem to resist the urge to join and found their own conglomerations of fellow students.Since every school that uses it requires that a special section be built for it, only students from certain schools – however impressive the list may be – can use it. This is partly because the entire course list needs to be compiled and integration, such as collection of e-mail domains, must be made to identify that a user is actually from the campus from which they claim to be.Other interesting features include a graphical visualization of your social network in Adobe SVG, ways to contact your friends’ mobile devices, group forums, away messages and the “Wall,” a special, personal buffer of text that can be edited by yourself and any of your friends. Like a door board, its text can be appended to or smudged out and replaced, but it keeps a history of every revision made to it. Mine, for example, is open to anyone who read this article and would like to experiment with the service. In fact, I challenge other students to find and message me on the Facebook as a display of its capabilities. was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, a student of Harvard, and launched to the public on February 4, 2004 as a no-cost service. It can be visited at its complete URL: