Ahh, the joys of being able to mass-proclaim your popularity via the Internet. Although thefacebook.com is not the originator of social standing sites, it is undeniable that for the college student eager to find new and enlightening ways to procrastinate (those which don’t involve another being or a spare hand) thefacebook.com can easily become a means to fruitful Friday online frolics.

Of course, social desirability can lead some to abuse thefacebook.com — i.e., befriending 500-plus peers, including each and every individual registered from one’s high school, deceivingly utilizing the likes of Photoshop, etc.

So for those who have yet to realize that thefacebook.com is so last year — I am mainly speaking to nescient freshman — what follows are the etiquette rules for browsing, posting and using our generation’s latest cyber-stalking revolution — a Web site deemed passe, cliche, and done by some.

Foremost, I must begin with what has become a disturbing trend among the photo whores of thefacebook.com. Although I admit that there seem to be no immediate repercussions, since only recent changes in one’s written profile are posted, that does not excuse individuals who persist to change their photos at what has become an utterly alarming rate. One individual (to remain unnamed) consistently juggles five or six photos of herself — all in aptly facebook skin-bearing poses — at a rate of (at least) once a week. How vain can you be to make that deliberate of an effort to be seen in your weekly Toad’s best?

I recommend updating your facebook photo every three to four months. Change of season provides a nice excuse to be seen in your most tanned state. Or you may opt to leave your original facebook photo up indefinitely — instantly emanating an “I haven’t been on thefacebook.com in ages” aura despite the fact that you surreptitiously lavished in your summer internship’s ability to provide you with countless hours of anonymous facebook-browsing.

Whatever picture you choose, please keep your shirt on, no matter how good the abs. A picture says a thousand words, but if those thousand words denote the fact that your mother spent 30 minutes snapping pictures of you in a bathing suit with her digital camera while your grandmother cooed in the background, drunk off her third Bahama Mama Beach Margarita, silence may be more golden.

Etiquette rule No. 3 applies solely to the Class of 2008 — the freshmen that were blessed/cursed with thefacebook.com capabilities before even setting foot on campus. In lieu of thefacebook.com’s potential to ease nervous prefrosh with the site’s capability to “message” suitemates sans awkwardness of a telephone call or to quickly and efficiently scan all male specimens in one’s college, it is by no means a proxy for meeting real people.

That stranger who pointed out the food in your hair yesterday in the Branford dining hall may practice proper “When to Tell” etiquette rules, but that doesn’t mean that he or she wants to be your friend in real or digital life.

I don’t care how popular you were in high school — there’s no way you ought to already have 120 Yale friends listed on your profile only one month after you got accepted. Popularity easily turns pathetic when it is clear an individual has a personal pattern of facebook befriending each and every student at Yale with whom he or she has had an exchange.

Additionally, I must berate those individuals who spend arguably more time than necessary attempting to make their “Interest” lists look as about as random as President Levin grooving on the Lilly Pad of Toad’s to Next’s “Baby When We’re Grinding.” Don’t be ashamed to admit that you like sex, beer and pizza. Intense randomness merely suggests even more intense deliberativeness.

And while it is not rude to decline facebook friendship, please be tactful in erasing facebook friends, as those whose pictures were quietly expunged may feel the slightest tinge of sadness and/or anger when they browse your friends’ list and realize the shame that has been cast upon them (especially after they personally removed the coleslaw from your head at Branford).

Some final thefacebook.com rules:

1) Do not put down “Whatever I can get” for dating preferences. Hello!!! Have some standards; save some face. Trust me — in life, you say whatever, you’ll get whatever’s left over.

2) Similarly, why is “Random Play” actually an option? The fact that the phrase immediately connotes images of middle school (and all its terribly awkward, puberty-stricken, acne-fied associations) should be enough to keep people from actually posting it on their profiles.

3) There’s no shame in accepting facebook friendships from the likes of Super Pimp or Jesus Christ. There is shame in being the annoying facebook tool behind those characters.

4) Don’t message high school friends to whom you haven’t spoken in three years to ask how they’ve been. It is poor etiquette to expect a long-lost hometown friend to fill you in on three years in a three-minute typed message. Why force upon the ubiquitous “I love college. Everything is going well. How have you been?” facebook response, when you can just as easily continue on in your life happily embracing the realization that you’ve lost touch.

In the end, although thefacebook.com may seem like the shit now, it still shows up in my Word spellcheck with a big, fat, squiggly red line under it. Yeah, so — think about that.

Dana Schuster is Steve Abramowitz’s friend on thefacebook.com. The question is, why aren’t you, Zander? Is Dana not good enough?