My phone vibrates in my pocket. I pull it out to find I have been “poked” by someone with an unfamiliar name. I feel dirty. Some stranger has extended a digital finger and caused a brief rumbling sensation in my pants.

Though the idea of invisible strangers poking at me through Thefacebook doesn’t sit well, I like that they’re forwarded immediately to my phone. It’s one of the amenities that make me like Thefacebook, the online alternative to human interaction that’s sweeping campus like a case of mono.

Naysayers may deride the online community as a refuge for the weak, nerdy and otherwise unsociable. However, by isolating its online communities to a specific college campus, Thefacebook provides a valuable service. If I miss a class, I can quickly obtain the AIM screen names and cell phone numbers of 20 people who could lend me their notes.

Beyond the practical applications of Thefacebook lay the fun ones. Now you can find out that the looker from your orientation group likes “Patch Adams” and therefore learn you’ve been wasting your time. Conversely, you could potentially meet someone who shares your interests. It’s not likely, but it’s always possible. And one more way to help one person contact another can’t hurt – even if they just start out poking.

Please, feel free to poke away.

Daily Nexus Training Editor Drew Mackie likes anything related to fingers, poking, or vibrating – a lot.