With the introduction of TheFacebook.com to the Brown campus after spring break, students will be able to network online with each other in more personal ways.
Developed by Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard University sophomore, and introduced at Harvard on Feb. 6, TheFacebook.com creates an online social network among students, faculty and staff on the campuses it serves.
Like the online networking service Friendster, it allows members to create profiles with photos and post messages for each other. But in addition to these features, TheFacebook.com also accesses databases of course catalogs, enabling a student to generate a schedule and post it online. It is also connected to University publications and automatically posts any article in which a student is mentioned to his or her profile.
Initially, Zuckerberg said he constructed the site because Harvard lacked any type of online facebook or directory. Students were frustrated, he said, because it was very difficult to get in touch with each other. Since the site's introduction, more than 8,000 Harvard students have joined the network, according to Zuckerberg, and requests for TheFacebook.com have been pouring in from other schools.
Columbia University was the first school after Harvard to be added to the network, and now has more than 1,000 registered users. Eight other schools followed - Stanford, Yale, Boston and Cornell universities, the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Dartmouth College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the next two weeks, Princeton University and Brown will join the system.
"It's pretty simple, actually. It's just a matter of cloning the network we established at Harvard for other schools," Zuckerberg said.
After registering at the Web site, members can access their school's social network by logging in with their email address and password. Unlike Friendster, which has privacy restrictions, Theface-book.com allows members within a school to access each other's contact information, such as e-mail and phone number.
"Friendster is primarily a dating site, and so they have to be really careful about confidentiality. But our goal is to connect people on campus, and I see no reason to block this information within such a small community of students," Zuckerberg said.
Since the inception of TheFacebook.com, Zuckerberg said he has received about a dozen requests from Brown students for the network. Sometime during the week of April 4, he said, he will have the Brown system up and running.
Randall Rempp '05 said he thinks the new addition will help make campus life a little more interesting.
"I definitely think it could help create a better sense of community around here," he said.