The Facebook Project


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In my Introductory Sociology course, It’s Not Rocket Science, students create faux Facebook profiles of people who are their exact social opposite, then interact with one another for ten weeks, (as well as observe and analyze these interactions), finally revealing their true identity to one another on the very last day of the course.

Called The Facebook Project, you can hear some of my Fall 2011 students from the College of Mount Saint Vincent (CMSV) and the State University of New York-Orange (SUNY-Orange) talk about the project here. Be sure to listen for Patricia Cook (State University of New York-Orange) and Dina Napolitano (SUNY-Orange), who describe their social opposites, respectively, as “someone who loves (the movie) Twilight” and as “a roller derby girl.” Listen also for Nicholas Doran (SUNY-Orange), who created Laura San Pedro, pictured above and Tessa Schmidt (SUNY-Orange), the only student out of sixty who changed her sexual preference.

This semester, you can follow The Facebook Project as it develops live! and in real time starting around February 29, 2012. In the meantime, more audio comments from students who participated in the Fall 2011 run of the project, as well as some screen captures from their faux profiles, are posted below. Please be aware that some students use some mild profanity in their comments.

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Click here for Part 1On the practical difficulty or ease of figuring out what counts as your exact social opposite. It is interesting to note that my students at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx, an urban campus, expressed more reservations about pretending to be a different race or ethnicity than students at the State University of New York-Orange, a rural, state-community college in upstate New York and that all students [with the exception of one, see/hear Tessa Schmidt (SUNY-Orange), above] expressed difficulty in changing their sexual preference or identity. A screen capture of Shijin Jose (CMSV) who speaks fourth on this audio clip, is posted directly below.


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Click here for Part 2 On some of the cyber flirtations and romances that developed or didn’t develop. Nicholas Stucko (SUNY-Orange) opens this audio clip. Listen for his comments about what it was like to change his racial identity. Screen captures of Nicholas as Reese Ryerson and, also, Shannon Malloy (CMSV) as Mike Sommers are posted directly below.


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Click here for Part 3On how to make a fictive cyber life seem more real. A screen capture of Dale Partridge’s “big day,” as mentioned in the audio clip is posted directly below. Dale was created by Diego Pimentel (SUNY-Orange).

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Click here for Part 4 — On what people felt they could make their faux personas say or not say in cyber-space and on how weight is an important social marker, even in a fictive cyber community. Listen especially for the comments made by Steven Barchow (SUNY-Orange), Olivia Brooks (SUNY-Orange) and Ashley Torelli (CMSV), the fourth, fifth and sixth voices on the clip. An image of Ashley’s cyber personae, Eva Jones, is posted below and you can hear Ashley say more about Eva here.

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Click here to listen to Part 5On trying to figure out people’s true identities.


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Click here to listen to Part 6Some closing remarks.


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End Note: An earlier post on “The Sociological Imagination” about “The Facebook Project” is right here.


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