In the long, long ago of February 2004, there was a website called The Facebook. It was college based, and had all sort of features oriented towards college life. Like, it had a spot to list which courses you were taking, and which dorm you lived in. And you had to have a .edu email address to even register, so it was cool and exclusive. You could even buy advertising that targeted just your classmates. Still, it was the up-and-comer to other sites, like DavisCoeds.com, Friendster(now a game player's connection/meeting place), and even MySpace.
By the time students returned to UC Davis that September, the site was already part of the culture. UCD users accessed the site through a specialized domain of ucdavis.thefacebook.com. However, they eventually got the rights to buy facebook.com, and migrated to that site. As time moved on, what was now called Facebook became superpopular and, like Cartmanland, eventually decided to open its doors to everyone. They added a news feed, when before one would have to check friends profiles obsessively; this was controversial at the time, because it made the "Stalkbook" aspects of Facebook even easier.
Still, the latest versions of the site with corporate webpages, apps, various games such as FarmVille, personal information sales, and a dizzying array of privacy controls can't capture the simple site that thefacebookwas in its youth. In 2005, thefacebook was a way of finding out all about that cutie who sat in front of you in calculus, a way to reconnect with that interesting person you ran into at the dining commons, or a way for freshmen to find a party with a keg on a Friday night. It was a catalyst for social activity, not a substitute. This page is a reminder of those simpler times.
Features of The Facebook (2004)
Some popular features include:
- Classmates - Users list their classes each quarter, and classmates' profiles can then be browsed either in a general list (all classmates) or by class.
- Groups - These can be anything from housing to fraternities to common interests to official clubs. Includes a message board, officer list, profile, and "groupies" (people who are friends with several members of the group).
- Messages - This works like email. Send a message to a particular user or a group of people.
- Parties - Hosts can use this function to invite people. RSVP's are included.
- Poking - Gets a person's attention without the bother of typing an actual message.
- Not at a UC or CSU? - Community college students, because they're not given a school email address, are not allowed to become a part of the Facebook.
- Graduated over 6 months ago? Sorry, even though it says alumni, without an .edu email address you can't participate.
- Most schools are all about keeping their alumni in touch with one another and in touch with the university. Hence, most schools give you a firstname.lastname@example.org acount. However, at Davis, you have to buy your way into the alumni association to get such an address. However even schools as humble as UC Riverside give complimentary alumni addresses. I inquired about this once, and the UC Davis alumni association essentially replied that they really didn't care. If Davis gave out alumni e-mail addresses like every other top-tier university (it appears) and many lower tier ones, even alumni could use The Facebook. —jr
- Popularity Contests - Welcome to high school. Some people can become semi-crazed about adding as many people to their "Friends" as humanly possible in order to make themselves appear cooler to others.