Back in the day, when we were 11 or 12 – you may not have even hit the double-digits yet – we pre-pubescent techies discovered the virtual world of America Online. Because we hadn’t experienced real Internet providers then, AOL served the adolescent purpose of tying up phone lines and excessive instant messaging. No generation will ever be as adept at hiding those IM boxes by clicking on the AltaVista search engine minimized in the corner, just in case those pesky parents happened to be looking over our shoulders. Of course, as we grew, the Internet did also, and soon we abandoned AOL and its imposed parental controls for the freedom of Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
From there grew Friendster, then MySpace, then Xanga, LiveJournal and Blogspot. Finally, the online communities evolved into our beloved Facebook. Thank Thor for Internet networking, right? UCSB has a surprising number of Internet communes, ranging from helpful to entertaining to just really fucking lame.
UCSB’s Student Affairs website, www.sa.ucsb.edu, is surprisingly well set-up, including things like the After Dark Calendar, Gaucho athletics, a Campus Point Surf Cam and even a local surf report. For those of you eager to claim a bit of bandwidth to call your own, take a gander at the U-Web Student Web Service, www.uweb.ucsb.edu, which allows you to sign up for and maintain your own U-Web page. Unfortunately, the directory of student pages is indexed under full name or UCSB NetID. How about some categories?
What I was most impressed to find was the Sociology Dept.’s hosting of UCSB’s SexInfo www.soc.ucsb.edu/sexinfo, a website run by “The Sexperts,” who I think are actually the infamous Baldwins. The site includes information about contraception, abortion, love and relationships, sexually transmitted infections, emergency numbers, funny sex stories and even podcasts! Now I can finally listen to information about the “Dangers of Anal Sex” and “The Hymen” on my iPod mini while biking to class. Neato.
I also stumbled across “The Daily Jolt,” www.sb.dailyjolt.com, a cutesy website including links to Student Affairs stuff, hilarious professor quotes, local menus, student polls and even a link to the new Dominos Pizza Tracker! Seriously. The tracker gives you a fairly accurate status of your order. Dominos should have invested those funds into making its pizzas taste better than its cardboard boxes.
The UCSB LiveJournal community, www.community.liverjournal.com/ucsb, is massively entertaining and mildly helpful. If you want to utilize this website, be forewarned: Members sometimes get a little, uh… heated. This leads to sixth-grade style forum wars, complete with distinct sides and wit-lacking witticisms. It is, however, a great place to find frank opinions relating to classes and housing. Ride-shares and rooms-for-rent are frequently posted, and every so often there’s an actual meet-up at the I.V. Starbucks. So if you’re looking for a low-risk, no-rejection method of meeting new people, hop on.
Facebook does seem to have taken over the online UCSB world. A search for UCSB communities resulted in more “UCSB Class of [Some Year]” groups than I knew what to do with. The groups are diverse and many: UCSB Asians, “UCSB Needs a Football Team,” UCSB Engineers, the UCSB Chapter of “Against Gay Marriage? Then Don’t Get One and Shut the Fuck Up” and “Fuck UCSB Parking Services.”
The LAMEST of ALL LAME THINGS Award definitely goes to The Dark Side of UCSB, www.thedarksideofucsb.com. A self-proclaimed “solving problems” Web site, the page aims to save the starved UCSB souls from the corruption of excessive drinking, drugs, rape and – get this – lying. Honestly, the entire page is in bad faith. Its featured editorials are either regurgitated bad-news articles or self-importantly titled things like “My Neighbor, the Drug Dealer,” and “From Honor to Dis-Honor Student.” There’s even a poll questioning whether or not Chancellor Yang should be fired if we find he’s been hiding campus crime statistics. All the images are dramatically altered into sepia tones – probably to scare us into a good, moral life in which we don’t partake in the usual college festivities. Yes, people drink too much. Yes, sexual assault is a real issue. Nonetheless, I don’t appreciate pompous judgments from parents, community members and former UCSB graduates too bitter to let go of their college years. We don’t want you as part of our UCSB community. Get a job, assholes.