Saturday, May 28, 2005

Social Networking at University

Below are details of this new interactive network - something that hasn't yet caught on at UK universities...or has it?

The Facebook has "great untapped potential, and provides lots of services that could be put to even better use". What is so special about this online directory that connects people through social networks at colleges and universities?

Launched by a group of students at Harvard in February 2004, thefacebook has since spread to 573 campuses and 2.4 million users. The free network, available to anyone with an e-mail address at a participating institution, boasts that it typically attracts 80 percent of a school's undergraduate population as well as a smattering of graduate students, faculty members, and recent alumni. Not only a shortcut to information about friends and acquaintances, it's also a way to spread messages about meetings and parties, a forum for frivolity, a link to lost pals, a tool to organize study groups, and a tempting distraction.

Thefacebook members post profiles with pictures and varying amounts of personal information, browse other profiles, and invite people to be ''friends," who will then be listed (and counted) on their sites and be able to post messages on their ''walls." Members create sites for existing clubs such as Amnesty International and invent groups such as the Committee for the Advancement of Cowbell that exist only in cyberspace.

Facebook Announcements allow students and local businesses to provide a variety of relevant links to people at the schools on the network. These announcements only appear at certain schools.

Thefacebook servers show over 50,000,000 pages every day. This means that even if an announcement is in rotation with a few others, it will still probably be viewed about 3-6 by each student at a speciafic school every day.

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