“Computer, computer find me a date. Search for my mate, determine my fate.” Perhaps you are looking for a male junior English major from California. Or maybe you are searching for that strikingly beautiful undeclared female freshman from Massachusetts. Whatever your heart desires, there’s an easy way to begin your search: the online facebook.
The online facebook at Yale serves many purposes, even beyond the dating scene. Indeed, it seems as if the facebook is the answer to all things Yale. Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw might Google her date, but at Yale we facebook the objects of our affection.
Someone just call to screw your roommate? Facebook ’em. Your friend can’t stop talking about her most recent obsession? Facebook ’em. Sure, it may sound silly, but in recent years the online facebook has taken Yalies by storm.
Seven years ago, the facebook went online for the first time, though only for Jonathan Edwards College. JE Master Gary Haller organized the transition so students would have an easy alternative to searching for fellow students in the hard copy of the facebook. After JE’s facebook went online, several other colleges followed suit, and the online facebook expanded and evolved. According to Haller, about three or four years ago, the Council of Masters, in collaboration with the Secretary’s Office and the Registrar’s Office, created an online facebook for all of Yale College. The facebook is now managed by Information Technology Services, ITS.
The online facebook is used even before many students arrive on campus. Perhaps most innocently, freshmen learn that they can facebook their roommates once they know their names. Yet, while the innocent freshmen are facebooking each other, little do they know that they themselves are the objects of much upperclassmen attention.
Many upperclassmen — let’s emphasize the “men” part of the word — admit to, in essence, facebooking the freshmeat.
“Men are like good produce shoppers,” said one football player who wished to safeguard his reputation by remaining anonymous. “You have to check out the goods and find the best ones to sample and enjoy.”
Once at school, the trend only grows. With college screws, freshmen screws, new acquaintances, and new crushes, the facebook takes on a whole new level of importance. And the facebook does not even have to be used to look up a specific person. Of course, you can facebook the sketchy girl who won’t stop calling you or that scary guy who sits behind you every day in class, but you can also facebook preemptively. Don’t have a screw date? Looking for the right one? Trying to avoid a catastrophe? Just facebook the possibilities.
Emily Condlin ’06 went so far as to say that the facebook reminded her of a dating service. You can search by class year, home state, major, room number, college, or even birthday! One student even joked that you should be able to search by dating status (single or involved), sexual orientation, or even level of attractiveness. For all of these reasons, most students have one piece of advice to give to incoming freshmen. Sure, your big sib might tell you to look over the blue book. Your parents might advise you to not overpack, your freshmen counselors will encourage you to participate in intramurals and to get involved in extracurriculars, but really, when it comes down to it: get a good facebook picture!
Perhaps one can liken the facebook to a first-round interview. Rumpus Editor-in-Chief Matthew Perlick ’05 admits that the facebook helps the editors create an initial list of possibilities for the infamous 50 Most Beautiful List.
Yet Perlick also explained that the facebook can be misleading.
“Sometimes a pretty person can have a bad facebook picture,” Perlick said, “but more often a pretty good picture could go with an ugly person.”
The facebook can be deceiving in other ways. Students on the first page of the facebook become mini-celebrities, but the connections made are not always completely correct.
Max Abelson ’06, who admits that his facebook picture does not really look like him, recalled an interesting experience he had while introducing himself to another student one day.
“I said my name, and the other kid said he recognized me,” Abelson said, “but then he added that he had always thought I was Chinese! My facebook picture looks Chinese, and I’m Jewish!”
Abelson writes music reviews for the Yale Daily News.
Nicole Aaronson ’07, the absolute first person in the facebook, said she was approached while walking in front of Lanman-Wright one day.
“One person just came up to me, said, ‘you’re the first person in the facebook,’ and then kept walking,” Aaronson said.
“But it’s weird for me too,” she added. “Every time I sign on, I see my own face.”
Nonetheless, despite the occasional red herring, the online facebook has proved integral to life at Yale. There seems to exist a whole facebook culture on campus. Rebecca Rapple ’06 said the facebook and Yale are simply meant for one another.
“The facebook to Yale is like tomato sauce to spaghetti,” Rapple said. “Sure, spaghetti would exist without sauce, but it wouldn’t be nearly as good.”
So look through your facebook and make me a perfect match.