Dear Facebook, stop giving preferential treatment to the ivy-leagues!

I’ve been patiently waiting for Facebook Chat to launch for a week or so, even though I’m not sure why I care so much about it. A staunch devotee to GChat, I don’t really plan on using the feature, but I guess curiosity has gotten the better of me. I blame my thesis, since I want to blame just about everything on it right now (e.g., My Saxby’s chai tastes bad? Must be because of my damn thesis! grrr). Yes, yes, I know, too much anger is a bad thing. But it’s also so much fun!

ANYWAY… So last week Nick O’Neill teased me by saying the launch was imminent, and should definitely happen by week-end, i.e., April 5th. Well I waited and waited. When I was presenting research at a conference Saturday, I excitedly told everyone it should be “any second now.” A CNN article boldly claims that Facebook Chat will surpass GChat in terms of use because of the frequency with which users log onto the site.

But here I am, still excited, and still waiting. This feature could have a significant impact on both my recent research on collegiate Facebook use, as well as Michigan State’s ongoing Facebook research. I don’t know about you, but because of GCHat (and, I’ll admit, because I’m addicted to my email), I keep Gmail open 24/7. I don’t quite do that yet with Facebook, although it is often open as a reference for my thesis writing (ok ok, and because I’m obsessed with online communication). Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t talk about instant messaging in my thesis…

But now I just found out why I’m not seeing Facebook Chat yet. After teasing me last week, Nick O’Neill has now posted on allfacebook that the feature did indeed roll out, but just to the “elites” of the collegiate world — namely, Harvard, Stanford, University of Chicago, Berkeley, Brown, Dartmouth and MIT. First, a quick question: Why the hell is U of C in this group? C’mon people, Georgetown should get chat long before that university. The rest of the roll out will happen gradually, and in typical Facebook-fashion, without a definite time frame. I’m expecting it to launch completely on the day of my thesis defense, and somehow find a way to nullify all my results.

Damn you Facebook!

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