Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roommate matching and the social internet

Roommate matching continues to evolve, with Facebook playing a key role: Students Turn to Online Roommate Matching Services to Avoid Getting Paired With a Stranger (HT: Mike Ruberry)

The Chronicle gives a good description: Colleges Use Facebook to Let Freshmen Find Their Own Roommates
"This summer, incoming freshmen at five universities can use a Facebook application to find their roommates. Students can use the application, RoomBug, to fill out forms about their preferences for living and qualities they'd like to see in a roommate. Students can then request a match, which the other incoming freshman must confirm.
RoomBug is hardly the first service to let students match themselves: Tulane University announced a partnership with online service RoommateClick two years ago.
But RoomBug, which the company U-Match LLC just rolled out at Emory University, the University of Florida, Temple University, Wichita State University, and William Paterson University of New Jersey, tries to go where the students are.
"Everyone is on Facebook," says Robert Castellucci, the service's co-founder and sales director.
Over a quarter of the University of Florida's incoming freshmen have added the Facebook application, he says, but numbers on how many matches the service helped make are not yet available."

Maureen Dowd regrets the trend, writing in her NY Times column
"The serendipity of ending up with roommates that you like, despite your differences, or can’t stand, despite your similarities, or grow to like, despite your reservations, is an experience that toughens you up and broadens you out for the rest of life.

"So I was dubious when I read in The Wall Street Journal last week that students are relying more on online roommate matching services to avoid getting paired with strangers or peers with different political views, study habits and messiness quotients."

1 comment:

erichorow said...

One drawback may be increased expectations. If you're randomly assigned a roommate, you're prepared to put up with a lot. But if you choose your roommate your expectations will be elevated, and that could intensify negative feelings when things don't go well. If a friend hurts us we get angrier than if a stranger hurts us. Choosing your roommate elevates him to the friend level (and increases the potential anger he can induce) before he's actually proven to be a friend.