Facebook, what have you done?

Around 4 years ago I created a fully featured content management system for Halifax College to ensure it had an online presence to be reakoned with. This system included a forum to enable past, present and future students at the college to communicate with each other, and in paticular for freshers to ask questions about the college and its accomodation before they arrived so they knew what to expect.

Year on year the site has seen over 1000 posts from eager and nervous students alike in the run up to freshers week asking many questions and conversing with people before they got to meet in person. This year this traffic has gone. Students start arriving tomorrow and while in previous years we would see over 1000 posts on the freshers sections of the forums we see a mere 81. Who do I blame for this decline? Facebook.

All of Halifax Online’s wonderful freshers traffic is now locked up behind the closed doors of facebook, offering insight only to those that wish to part with personal information and get in there quick enough to find their answer in the first 10 posts (after that the lack of message board search function renders posts and content impossible to find). Is this the future of our forums? Why do students settle for an inferior product, even when they don’t yet know anyone? (facebook may hold your friends but when you’ve yet to arrive in a new real location mirrored as a network on facebook, what can it’s inferior facilities possibly offer you? You don’t know anyone there yet!)

Facebook, you’ve stolen the traffic that belongs on the Halifax College forums and reduced the potential for a great college spirit to exist even before students arrive. I’m very proud of my old college and today facebook has not made me a happy ex-student.


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  1. Chris Worfolk Said,

    October 7, 2007 @ 12:44 pm

    That sucks. Does the website get plugged into the info packs sent to pre-freshers?

  2. Kieran Said,

    October 8, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

    Yes, it does, and the site is staffed by people waiting to answer questions etc. Its just everyone uses facebook instead.

  3. Emma Said,

    October 17, 2007 @ 12:56 am

    That really sucks…It was a great honour to be involved in the Halifax Freshers’ Forums for those couple of years…Lets hope they see sense soon and start using it to its full potential…

  4. Cary Briel Said,

    October 18, 2007 @ 7:46 pm

    It’s the brainless sheep syndrome.

  5. ashley Said,

    October 24, 2007 @ 11:00 pm

    I’m a halifax fresher this year and I used facebook over the halifax webpage, facebook is just more friendly, fun and easier to use – that’s why I used it.

  6. Kieran Said,

    October 28, 2007 @ 2:18 pm

    Thank you for your comment Ashley.

    First, let me make clear that my posting was not an attack on those that are using facebook as an alternative, just in the way that facebook is not as open as the college website. Just in case you were worried 😉

    You might argue that very few are not on facebook, but what of those that aren’t and find that there is no information or welcoming discussion about the college available to them because no one has posted it to the Halifax college website and they can’t read what is on facebook because they are not a member?

    Social network is fun. Information gathering is a fact of life.

    This means that given facebook is a social networking site, things like what events are on, who to contact for welfare information, what the room numbers on forms mean, how much a wash is in the launderette etc. etc. should be open to all on the college website.

    If no one posts on or visits the college website because they are all on facebook the college committee can’t justify spending time placing information on the site and the people hosting it (me) can’t justify the space on the server that the site is using. This means that those who are not on facebook are effectively “locked out” of any information resources that might help them.

    You may well be correct about the difference in friendliness and fun levels, but one thing is for sure, when there are over 100 posts a day, the forums are very friendly and fun. Its just that hasn’t happened this year due to facebook.

    I would be very interested to know about your ease of use comments. In what way is facebook easier to use than the college website? This is something that we can change 😉

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