Online Socializing Stretched

For several years, students have participated in online communities such as Friendster and MySpace, which are blog-like websites where students can create profiles and meet new people. Online socializing, however, has stretched to new levels of popularity this fall with the innovation of the Facebook for high school. With a college version of the site already well-established, high school Facebook caught on quickly. When the site went public this August, it had 88 new users in the first 10 minutes; after two weeks, it already had 100,000 users. Yet Facebook is not the same as its counterparts. Unlike Friendster and Myspace, Facebook groups students according to their school, allowing them to post their classes and contact information. Thus, it can also serve as a useful academic aid. Students at Andover have caught onto the craze along with thousands of other high school students. Paz Mendez Hodes ’07 said, “I have definitely done less work and wasted a lot more time since I’ve gotten on it. It’s very addicting.” Harvard sophomores Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Hughes, and Dustin Moskovitz founded in February 2004. The trio originally created the site for Harvard students to meet new people and further acquaintances. The site grew so quickly that the founders opened it to students at Columbia, Stanford, and Yale. The college version of the Facebook has continued to thrive, registering over 5,000 new users daily, with a diverse community of 3.8 million users from over 1,500 different colleges and universities. As Facebook’s success rocketed, Zuckerberg and Moskovitz, who studied computer science and economics respectively, left Harvard to run the company in Palo Alto, California, along with ten other employees. Chris Hughes, the third member of the Facebook team, is currently studying history and literature abroad in Paris. makes a profit from business advertisements, as well as from student-posted, university-specific ads. College students pay $9-$15 to broadcast upcoming events and parties. In addition to this revenue, the venture capital firm Accel Partners invested $13 million in the site last spring. The investment funded the site’s recent redesign “Operation Quail,” named after a scene in the popular summer comedy Wedding Crashers. As reported in the Harvard Crimson, one of the creators Chris Hughes said, “Our whole culture is about being funny and creative.” He said, “Harvard kids, better than anyone else, know that Facebook used to be a dinky little site for one college, but it’s huge at this point. It’s a very real business with lots of employees. Mark went from being a Harvard student programming in his dorm room to CEO of a multimillion-dollar corporation.” The definition of the verb “facebooking” on is “to waste time by browsing,” and the word facebook is defined as “the reason papers are never done on time” along with “a stalker’s dream come true.”