Facebook harkens back to its old days of being a college-focused social media platform. Back in the beginning, before Facebook became the all-consuming social media giant it is now, CEO Mark Zuckerberg initially put together a simple app called “FaceMash” which was essentially a “hot or not”-esque site that took a look at Harvard students by using images uploaded on Harvard’s website.
From there, Zuckerberg evolved the idea into “TheFacebook,” which became the Yellow Pages of Harvard students. It went on to eventually become Facebook as we know it, a global behemoth now used by almost half the planet’s population.
The company announced on September 10 the launch of its new social networking platform, Facebook Campus. The platform offers college students a safe and secure place to connect with classmates, join study or sports groups, discover upcoming campus events, get timely updates from their school’s administration and chat with other students from their dorm, clubs, organizations, or any other group on campus.
The new platform requires students to have a school email address (12345@.edu) to join and will reside within a separate section within the Facebook app. It will be accessible from a tab at the bottom of the screen or the “More” menu alongside Facebook’s Dating, Watch, Gaming, and Marketplace sections.
“We wanted to create a product where it was easy for classmates to meet each other, foster new relationships and also easily start conversations,” said Facebook Campus’ Project Manager Charmaine Hung, in a news post.
“We really think that Campus is more relevant than ever right now. With COVID-19, we see that many students aren’t returning to campus in the fall. Now, classes are being held online and students are trying to react to this new normal of what it’s like to connect to clubs and organizations that you care about when you’re not together.”
Introducing: Facebook Campus
Facebook Campus is a dedicated section of the Facebook app that caters to students. They will create a Campus profile separate from their personal Facebook profile. To create a Campus profile, all students need is their college email and year of graduation. Other information such as their class schedule, major, and hometown are optional. Once their Campus profile is set up, students can discover Events and Groups that their school set up, and connect with classmates who share similar interests. When content is shared on Campus, only people on Campus will see it.
Campus’ Key Features
Campus-only News Feed
Facebook Campus touts itself as a college email-verified space designed for students to get updates from classmates, groups, and events in a college-only feed. Students can create study groups, plan virtual meetups, or ask for advice with college-only Groups and Events. The platform makes organizing, holding, and managing school events so much easier because only people on Campus can view and participate. Campus puts all student’s most important events and notifications into one, easy to navigate section. This feature aims to reduce the confusion students experience with the multitude of platforms schools require them to use to keep track of their events.
New ways to chat
Campus Chats are real-time chat rooms. Students can create chat rooms for their dorm, clubs, organizations, or any other groups they’re part of within Campus. Campus uses Facebook’s Messenger technology to ensure secure, encrypted communication between Campus users.
- Campus directory
College is about finding people relevant to you, may they be fellow classmates, professors, advisors, or mentors, so Facebook created a “Classmates” directory to make it easy to find and meet new people. Like in the early days when Facebook was a college-only network, students can find classmates by class, major, year, and more. Campus puts a modern twist on its first formula.
Facebook aims for younger demographic
In an interesting note, Facebook shared how they will still take usage metrics of Campus users.
“As with other Facebook products, we may use your activity from Facebook Campus to personalize your experience on our apps to show you more relevant content, including ads. This means your activity on Facebook may influence what you see in Campus, and your activity in Campus may influence what you see elsewhere on Facebook.”
This could mean that Campus may also be an effort by Facebook to hook younger demographics to lure them away from other platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. Facebook Campus is built to bring these users back by offering a more exclusive place for private networking within Facebook itself.
Through constant usage, Facebook could find another way into these younger demographics, keeping them connected in other ways, even if they don’t choose to use the main Facebook app all the time. So Campus is shaping up to be more than a dedicated space for college students to catch up, it could also be a dedicated platform for Facebook to gather insights to fuel its ad tools.