July 28, 2009

After the facebook info

On most summer nights there are five or six laptop computers in my living room — accompanied by the lanky bodies of teenage boys. Boy in Black’s summer job is doing research for a physics professor, which means he gets paid to sit on on the couch and write computer programs on his laptop. My daughter does freelance work on her computer, I write on my computer, and my husband checks the stock market online. Mostly, everyone else looks up youtube clips, plays computer games, and checks email.

Yesterday, when we were all sitting around the living room, which is mostly what we do here in the summer, Shaggy Hair Boy reached for one of the laptop computers on the coffeetable and checked his email. “Hey, I got my roommate.” He’ll be heading to Snowstorm University in less than a month.

“Go to facebook,” Quick said.

Within minutes, the roommate’s profile was up on every computer screen in the room. We looked at photos of him — hanging out with his friends, rowing crew, or in his cap and gown at graduation. We read messages his friends had left on his wall. We looked at his list of favorite music, his favorite movies, his favorite television shows.

Later that evening, Shaggy Hair Boy said, “Hey, Roommate left a message on my wall.”

“Write him back,” said my daughter.

“What should I say to him?”

“Ask him where he’s from.”

“We know that — he’s from State Where They Grow Oranges.”

“Ask him what instrument he plays.”

“We know that — there’s a photo of him with a trumpet.”

“Ask him what music he likes.”

“We know that — here’s a list.”

Quick looked over at Shaggy Hair Boy. “Online social networking has really killed small talk, hasn’t it?”

9 comments:

The Archduchess said...

Facebook is quite a convenient way to find out a bit about people... Helps you know if you are compatible with future roommates, for one thing.

YourFireAnt said...

and not a moment too soon!

;-)

BrightenedBoy said...

Ah, the looking up of the roommate on Facebook. How's Shaggy Hair doing? Is he nervous? When I looked up my Freshman roommates I was terrified.

Have they actually talked yet?

AmpersandPrime said...

lol. (see ... it's killed the actual use of words too, hasn't it? and proper punctuation.)

liz said...

How's about, "hey new roommate! What should I know about you that you HAVEN'T already written about on Facebook?"

jo(e) said...

Brightened Boy: Shaggy Hair Boy seems pretty relaxed about the whole thing. I think a big part of this is that he's going to school locally: he already has a bunch of friends at Snowstorm University because he's been playing Ultimate with them in the Snowstorm City League. So he's already got a niche.

I think he's a bit apprehensive about dorm life, but being close to home -- and having an older brother on campus -- will help a lot. Some of our extras will be at the same university too so he should feel right at home.

Sarah Sometimes said...

My question--purely technical--is how he was able to see all that about roommate without "friending" him. Is it because they are in the same "network" of Snowstorm University students?

readersguide said...

My daughter N was the same way -- looking up the potential roommate on facebook only confirmed that the whole thing was too terrifying to deal with. (They ended up the best of friends.)

julieunplugged said...

Conversely, my daughter discovered that two of her roommates were likely to be challenging roomies. It worried her a lot before she headed off to college. But the up side is that she was prepared not to see them as "failed best friends" - she came in ready to find ways to like them and yet not feel obligated to be their bff.