Everyone scanned the hundreds of pages this summer, gawking at deceivingly attractive photos and making fun of people’s interests. The freshman class, however, was the class to use thefacebook.com in an entirely new way- to scope out their future classmates, roommates, and potential boyfriends. The fun only began when the normal meet-and-greets of freshman week turned into comparing people to their facebook identities, seeking out friends we had only talked to online, and stalking or being stalked by facebook acquaintances.
My personal favorites will remain nameless, but they include topless guys flexing every muscle on their bodies, a southern girl who dedicated her entire profile to the Bible, another girl whose photo portrays her as a victim of a fluke plastic surgery accident, and an amusing WASP who declared his interests as collar-popping and pitying “B-list fraternities.” Most freshmen befriended every person they know who went to their high school, so in their time of social insecurity, they have a long list of faces from other colleges to reaffirm their popularity. The YM Magazine Prom look was one of the most popular selections for incoming freshmen for their facebook photos–most of the guys in three-piece tuxedos and the girls in floral dresses with heinous up-dos, complete with peyos.
One of the most awkward dilemmas during Freshman Week was the appropriate greeting for facebook friends whom you had never met. This is best approached with finesse and care to avoid embarrassment. It’s impossible to know how one might respond if you mention the facebook the first time you meet: will they hug you like a long lost friend? Will they introduce themselves formally with no sign of recollection? Or will they joke about your online friendship to break the ice? I have made some mistakes in this arena. I over-zealously approached an unenthusiastic football player. My greeting of “Hey! We’re friends on thefacebook!” only yielded an uncomfortable smile and nod. There were a few gung-ho boys, however, (we all know who they are) who decided to competitively amass hot girls as their friends. A few even decided to take it to the next level by IMing their targets.
Bradford Stevens ’08 of New York City accumulated over 200 friends before arriving on campus by enthusiastically requesting each of them as soon as they activated their accounts. He commented on another awkward aspect of the first week: “Everyone I’ve met says I look nothing like the individual in my facebook photo so that’s disconcerting, especially since I think it’s a pretty decent photo of me. Obviously saying ‘the photo looks nothing like you’ is a polite way of saying ‘you’re an ugly bitch.’” Thefacebook.com is best for the curious who don’t want to be perceived as pathetic and obsessive by reading and reciting each other’s private stats. Danny Shea ’07 says investigative facebooking is a more universal pastime: “I know tons of sophomores who used thefacebook.com all summer to scope out the new freshmen. So facebook really transformed freshman week for us sophomores too, because it allowed us to be like, ‘Whoa, so I guess you can say she’s photogenic!’”