Networking

social_network (Source)

We went and saw The Social Network this weekend. I really liked it. I think it was written well, and the actors seemed realistic. I’m sure they dramatized some aspects, but it felt realistic and I thought the storyline was so interesting.

But it got me thinking.

What in the world was college like before Facebook?

Facebook went big the summer of 2005. The summer before I started my freshman year of college. I signed up that summer and have had it ever since.

Meaning, I do not know a college that doesn’t have Facebook. They seem synonymous with each other.

I mean, how do you know if people are actually dating? How did you know about a party? How did you find out about events on campus? How did people stay in touch with friends from high school? How did you ask that guy from class a question about an assignment even though you didn’t really know him? And how did you ever see your friends pictures of parties/engagements/weddings/everyday musings?

It really is interesting to me.

When Mr. A and I started dating, I remember a friend telling me it wasn’t “official” until it was on Facebook. Really? I can’t date someone without it being on the internet? I thought it was strange they would say that, but don’t people do that all the time now?

I laughed when I was marching the movie and they showed the original Facebook page. You know, only the profile, no pictures, no wall, and no news feed?

Yeah, those were the days.

It’s amazing how much this one simple website has changed everything. It changed the college experience, and beyond now that it’s available to everyone.

So I’m showing how young I am. I don’t know a college without Facebook and I’m one of the millions of people who check their Facebook several times a day. Both Facebook and Twitter are usually always pulled up in the background, no matter what I’m doing on the computer.

My generation has a need to be constantly connected. We have FB and Twitter and foursquare and every other social networking program on our computers and our cell phones.

I admit, I kind of love Twitter and the connections I’ve made. It started with blogging and expanded. I’ve made great friends and we joke and share stories and recipes and pictures and snarky comments.

I know a lot of bloggers/tweeters have met their online friends and made them in real life friends that they couldn’t imagine not knowing.

So, if you didn’t have Facebook from the moment college started, what was it like before you could be connected to almost anyone you ever knew at the click of a button? What changed when you finally signed up? Do you think it made things easier or better? Or did you think it was invasive and unnecessary?

I’d really love to hear your comments.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Networking

  1. Jamie

    Hmm. I don’t know. I have a love/hate relationship with it. but I definitely agree that most people don’t take relationships seriously until they’re on there (tragic are the cases when a girl puts herself “in a relationship” but no name is attached and the guy’s profile remains “single”). I feel like with the privacy controls being as specific as they are now (though they default at AWFUL), it’s getting a little harder to say that it’s truly transparent. Also, at least among our friends, a lot of people have closed down their accounts in the last year or two. It was a really good way to keep tabs on the circle but I don’t think that’s true anymore.

  2. I am a smidge older than you, starting college in 2003, so I know a college with, and without Facebook.

    One of the biggest differences I know from my experience and my sisters experience of starting college is that when I started I got my dorm roommates email address, the address of my dorm, and a welcome packet. When my sister started she got those things, found and befriended her roommate on Facebook, got to know her roommate on Facebook, joined a group for the girls all living on her floor, scheduled three coffee dates before arriving, and was invited to two parties.

    BEFORE SHE’D EVEN MOVED IN.

    I showed up like a tool and wandered the halls, eventually meeting some kids in the laundry room who invited me to come with them to a welcome Freshman meeting thing.

    Meaning I had to make my first friends the normal way.

    I think Facebook makes being in college easier. Making friends easier, having a social life easier, getting to know your campus and your new city easier.

    I’m proof you can meeting people and have fun without it, and I still remember helping my friends hand out FLIERS for their Halloween house party before the birth of Facebook events, but I wouldn’t have minded the ease of it as a little freshy.

  3. Sarah

    I really want to see The Social Network. I remember getting The Facebook back in the summer of 2005, too–that’s right, THE Facebook. When only certain colleges were allowed on, and only college students. I can’t imagine what college would have been like without The Facebook.

  4. You’re such a baby! I graduated college (albeit a semester early) in December ’05!

    We got Facebook on our college campus during my junior year (I think they actually talk about it a bit in the movie, from what I’ve seen on my friends’ facebook statuses – ha!). Before we got it, it just seemed like a lot more effort to keep in touch. Of course, there was email and IM, but I didn’t really keep up with high school friends. Now, I use Facebook everyday for my job(yay!). It’s a crazy world.

  5. You just made me feel so old. My first 2 years of college were facebook free- and it really didn’t get popular until my senior year. I am kind of glad that I missed out on the massive party picture uploading and tagging. Now my friends in college have 1000+ pictures tagged of them at parites and such…and I am just glad I don’t have that kind of a photo trail following me around post grad…

    • I agree about the party pictures. About a year and a half ago I un-tagged myself from a bunch and deleted a lot that I had posted, and I never posted anything all that scandalous. Some of these college kids are going to learn the hard way that these pictures will be around for a while

  6. Facebook was a brand new thing when I was a JUNIOR in college and only a few people were involved in it – at least, only a few people I knew. But gosh, that was back in the day when GOOGLE was just an infant and Napster was the way we got our music and the iPod was a brand new crazy invention.

    Wow, I am super old.

    I really don’t like Facebook, although I am on it. I mainly use it to look at what other people are saying/doing. But I don’t participate much. I hate friending people just for the sake of friending people… and I get so irritated by what my cousins post on their profiles – things that could seriously get them in trouble or prevent them from getting a job etc. I think a lot of people take the whole thing too lightly… like it’s this “private” space where you can say and post whatever you want… when in reality it’s NOT private and could hurt you.

    Anyway. Not a fan. I should probably just delete my profile.

    • I agree. I never really posted anything inappropriate, but in the last 2 years I’ve bec ome MUCH more careful about what I post and such. I’ve considered getting rid of it, but it has been a great way to keep int ouch with friends now that we don’t live by them.

  7. Wow, I am officially the old lady of the group. Sweet! I graduated college in 2001 (I know!). We barely had email in my first few years of college, and Google and Napster were still babies my senior year. Not having instant connections definitely made my freshman year tough. It’s hard to get to know people without social media! But most of us had cell phones by our junior year, so communication wasn’t all that hard. Although, text messaging would have been nice!

    It took me years to get on Facebook, but now that most of my friends are married with kids, it’s been a great way to keep up with everyone. Plus, my family is a bit spread out, so Facebook is a good way for us to tease each other and stay close. I think Twitter is my favorite social media outlet though. I’ve met such awesome people and love the instant news aspect of it.

  8. Notes from the Fatty File

    Ooh this is fun as I am an old hag and at a college pal wedding this weekend, my friends and I were saying THANK GOD we didn’t have Facebook in college because the drunk wall posting/tagging/dramarama would be so much worse than what we had back in the day (I graduated in 2001). Here’s how things were, ahem, slightly different back in ancient times:

    — I found out who my freshman year roommate would be and I wrote her a snail-mail letter to introduce myself. An actual letter with paper and pen. (We then talked on the phone.)

    — I had internet access at home before going to college but it was via dial-up and some nights, there were busy signals to get on to AOL and it suuuucked! In my dorm, we had ethernet cables and it was like heaven itself had opened up.

    — There was a ton of late-night AOL instant messaging and stalking of people’s away messages on that and ICQ (super old-school chat thingie) to see if people were busy/out/whatever. There was also stalking of IP addresses when people sent us e-mails from different spots around campus if they were emailing us through their school email addresses (which they inevitably were as Hotmail and whatnot was still very new). By people, btw, I definitely mean GUYS.

    — Parties were advertised via brightly colored fliers the size of an 8.5X11 cut into quarters. They were also advertised via email list serves for student groups, etc.

    — There were no digital cameras until maybe my senior year. Most people just developed photos and put them in albums and maaaaybe the computer savvy people would scan them and share them via email. At some parties, student organizations would hire professional photographers to take photos and then a few weeks later, we’d all gather around a table to look at mini proofs and order photos of our friends with red Solo cups in their hands.

    — We kept in touch with friends via e-mail and phone calls. We sent postcards from vacation. That girl who updates her FB status every time she goes to the bathroom? We just never bothered to keep in touch with her. Our circle was smaller.

    — From 2003 to about 2005, Friendster hit the scene. I was in my early 20s and a lot of my friends got on it. It was a similar concept to Facebook but way more low-tech. It jumped the shark in 2005(ish) when it allowed people to see who was looking at their profiles — very creepy.

    I joined Facebook in 2007, six years after graduating and with my old .edu e-mail address. It really is mind boggling how much it has changed the way we interact with each other socially. I think AOL, which made the internet available to truly everyone, may have been even more groundbreaking but Facebook is still up there.

    • I LOVE the ordering of pictures with the solo cups. HAHAHA.And I love how the stalking of pepople has become so much easier. lol. I feel SUPER young now after hearing about several of you and not having a cell phone for all of college or whatever.

      And brightly colored fliers? I wish those would come back.

  9. Okay. I’m officially the oldest commenter, so I have the most credibility. I started college in 1999. To answer your questions, in order:

    1) You learned people were dating because they had the DTR and then told you. If you were in a house, there was some kind of announcement and a lavaliering. Most people in college didn’t really date so much as they hooked up.

    2) You found out about events on campus via antiquated listservs or class announcements. If you were in a house, people would stop by during dinner and let you know what’s up.

    3) Phone or email. Or, you could take the route I did and not stay in touch with anyone from high school, only re-igniting friendships after your high school reunion.

    4) You made sure you had at least one friend in every class. This was pre-planned during scheduling the semester before, or you made a buddy right away. I did this by finding the smoker in the class and forming a bond via nicotine.

    5) You still bought disposable cameras and had them developed, getting doubles and passing them out to friends. There was no such thing as taking a photo of yourself with your arm out. Also, there were photogs at every event, and they would send proofs of every picture taken at the event and you could order prints after viewing them.

    Frankly, I’m glad there was no facebook in college. It made things much less complicated. 🙂

  10. I fall in the same category as you as having started college with Facebook. I started college in fall 2006, so by then everyone had already had the high school version and adapted to include college.

    The funny thing about Facebook I remember is when my now-husband and I started dating. We had been dancing around the idea for honestly a few months, and he was still nervous when we finally started dating because he was editor of the yearbook and technically my boss at the yearbook and newspaper. So we didn’t post it on Facebook or announce it to anyone outside of our immediate friends, but after a month (and having — according to some people — both removed our single Facebook statuses on the same day) , it didn’t make any sense to not have it on Facebook. Everyone knew or assumed by that point, so it was easier to simply announce it.

  11. Facebook came when I was a sophomore in college (2004) – somehow we got it earlier than the other schools. I can remember sitting in my dorm room with my two roommates sometime in February of that year and wondering what this new “Facebook” thing was. We signed up with our edu email and just kind of poked around. I remember “poking” people incessantly. 🙂

    Before FB, you had AOL instant messanger. That’s the main we communicated – I remember your away updates were the most important thing. You could tell people your schedule or a cute quote you just learned. It’s kind of like FB but much simpler. As for how we found out about events? Lots of calling, and seeing posters on campus.

    I must admit that when FB came around, we had no idea what we could use it for. But it quickly became a big part of our lives.

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