Facebook Introduces Groups for Schools
by Tori Roeck | University of Notre Dame
Facebook users dissatisfied with Timeline who long for the days before comments and likes can find solace in Groups for Schools, a new Facebook feature unveiled last week reminiscent of the social media site’s original format.
Groups for Schools allows college students to find and create university-specific groups which require users to have a .edu e-mail address to join. Facebook is coming full circle from its original layout, which restricted its members to students at select colleges who could prove enrollment using a .edu e-mail account.
Meghan Thomassen, a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame, said she found out about these groups when a friend added her to the Notre Dame “Class of 2014” group.
“I saw that a bunch of other groups had been formed already for different dorms,” Thomassen said. “I realized that [my dorm] Pasquerilla East didn’t have one and [the campus paper] The Observer didn’t have one yet so I decided to make those groups, and I invited a couple people to join.”
Thomassen also said she joined the English major group to get advice from upperclassmen.
“I asked people to post recommendations for classes and professors that they thought were really great because it’s hard to know sometimes which ones you should be taking, especially with [course registration for next semester] coming up soon,” she said.
Other groups under the Notre Dame umbrella include “Events and Parties,” “Campus Tips” and “Housing.”
Andrea Chu, a sophomore at Princeton University, said on top of joining the groups for her residence college and major, she joined the groups “Jobs and Internships” and “Textbook Exchange.”
“[I joined groups] more for useful purposes than for social purposes,” Chu said. “I joined ‘Jobs and Internships’ so in case I need a campus job, I can see what openings there are.”
As the event manager for the Princeton Garden Project, Chu said she looks forward to using Groups for Schools to publicize their events.
“I’ll use it for club purposes,” she said. “It’ll be a really good way to do publicity.”
However, Chu said she does not foresee herself using Groups for Schools for any informal purposes.
“Because it’s under the guise of the University, I feel more pressure that it’s more official,” she said.
Thomassen said she thinks Groups for Schools will be an effective way to bring a lot of information into one place once people start to use it.
“Yes, it’s going to give you a lot more notifications and a lot more traffic on Facebook, and some people would be annoyed by that and wouldn’t want to get involved,” she said. “But I’m always trying to make sure that I know what’s going on around campus so I think it’s a good idea in terms of centralizing what everyone’s doing in one spot.”
However, Thomassen said Facebook could better categorize the groups within Groups for Schools.
“Right now, the only thing separating the groups are the little icons,” she said, “and I think maybe they should specify which groups go where and gear it toward college students, such as dorms, clubs, departments or something like that. Right now, it’s a free for all.”
Chu said she often forgets which groups she has joined and hopes Facebook will remind her about Groups for Schools without being annoying.
“Sometimes I forget that I’m in these groups unless I get a notification about it,” she said. “But then again I don’t want notifications for every little item. Perhaps the problem is finding a healthy balance between those things.”Tori Roeck is the NextGen Managing Editor and Director of Reporting. A native of Westfield, NJ, she studies philosophy and classics at the University of Notre Dame.