For administrators, “facebook” is a noun. For students, it is a verb, and an active one at that.
Providing endless hours of eye candy (and some useful information), the online facebook has become the new “hook-up” Bible for many Yalies.
From searching for potential screw dates to using it to rule out an already-planned screw date, from finding a friend’s birthday or address to getting a phone number, the online facebook is used in a variety of (often scandalous) ways.
“This online facebook/directory is intended for official University use and for individual communication of a business or incidental personal nature between individuals who are included in the facebook/directory,” states a disclaimer on the login Web page.
But not for Tyler Golson ’04.
“I got screwed with this girl I didn’t know,” Golson said. “When I found her online, I realized she was a big freak and a stalker, so I had my roommate cancel for me.”
Administrators, however, created the online facebook not to facilitate “hooking-up.”
“As far as I know there are two intended [uses],” said Betty Trachtenberg, dean of student affairs. “One, to allow faculty to know who students are so they can engage with them personally [and] call them by name — Then, masters of colleges and deans and people here in the [Yale College Dean’s Office] interact with students.”
Yalies have found more practical uses for the online photographs.
“I was really trashed one night and ended up going home with a guy,” said one sophomore. “The next morning, I knew the college he was in and his year, but I couldn’t remember his name.”
It would seem that without a name, searching the online facebook would be difficult.
“It wasn’t hard, it just took time,” she said. “I searched his college by year and had to go through all the senior guys until I found him.”
Sylvia Broude ’04 may know names, but she has a different problem with the online facebook.
“The one bad thing is that when you’re looking up an upperclassmen who lives off-campus,” Broude said. “You don’t know their residential college, so you end up having to search through all of them — which takes hours!”
Prior to the institution of the online facebook, each incoming freshman class was offered the chance to purchase a hard-copy facebook including the members of their class.
Names, faces, addresses, and phone numbers were disseminated on a smaller scale, and while upperclassmen could buy the book of “fresh meat,” some students attribute a certain stigma to such a purchase.
“Sketchy older guys who want to get a head start on the freshman girls buy the facebook,” said Sara Loubriel ’04. Now all the information any Yalie could want or need is available at the click of a mouse.
Yale administrators say that they took the potential-misuse-by-“sketchy”-guys-factor into consideration.
“Two things make me feel comfortable,” Trachtenberg said. “One, people can remove information, two, it can only be accessed by members of the Yale community.”
It is the decision of the residential college master whether to put the college facebook online. Last year, Jonathan Edwards College was the first to go online and at that time, Davenport, Silliman and Timothy Dwight decided to hold off joining the program. Things have changed.
“[Putting the facebooks online] was not mandatory, but all of the colleges are participating, so we must have done something right,” said Indy Crowley, director of administrative systems for Information Technology Services.
Well, at least one Yalie thinks that ITS did something right.
“It’s a great advancement in the area of girl-talk,” said Samantha Jay ’04. “Instead of saying ‘I saw the cutest guy in my English class’ and then having to describe him to your friend, you can go to the facebook for the real thing.”
But Jay acknowledges that the online facebook is not always a fair representation of a Yalie’s good, or often not-so-good looks.
“Lots of times you meet a guy you think is really cute,” she said. “Then you go to show your friend online, and you’re like, ‘I thought he was cute, but maybe not.'”
“My own facebook picture sucks,” she added. “But it could suck more.”
To alleviate those dateless screw nights, some Yalies may choose to “lose” their identification card in order to get a new facebook picture when replacing the card. But even this system has its problems.
“I’m always tired by the time I trek down to Church Street,” said Jay. “And one time it was raining, so I thought I looked cute but decided not to get a new picture after all.”
Matthew Ferraro ’04 wouldn’t change his picture either.
“That’s too vain,” he said.
With screw season underway, the facebook is invaluable, and so is that good picture.
“I use it a lot — to get the number for my roommates’ screw dates,” said Peter Ocolo ’04.
Jay agrees, but remembers, “Two guys called for a screw and I didn’t know either one of them. All I had to go by was the facebook! We ended up having a terrible time.”
Ferraro says he is done with using the online facebook for screws altogether.
“The facebook doesn’t do people justice,” he said.
All the same, some Yalies are die-hard fans of it.
“It was great this summer when they put the freshman pictures in the online facebook,” said David Gimbel ’03. “It proved a valuable resource for many an upperclassman.”