From meeting new people to reuniting old friends to sparking new relationships, Facebook.com is one website with multiple purposes. While popular at most colleges throughout the country, at Black colleges and universities, the invasion of Facebook seems to have replaced BlackPlanet.com.
According to Facebook.com, launched in February 2004, “the Facebook is an online directory that connects people through social networks at schools.” It allows each user to create a personal profile, upload a picture, and generate a list of friends from most colleges and universities located throughout the country.
Although, BlackPlanet was also created to acquaint people throughout the nation, it targets a predominately Black audience from age 13 and older." BlackPlanet is a social website where you make your own personal webpage, put whatever graphics you want on there and add music to it,” said Byron Jackson, a senior political science major at Howard University. “It’s sort of like Facebook but a lot more detailed and less organized.”
Jackson, once an avid BlackPlanet user, said he hasn’t used the site in years and now focuses his attention on Facebook.
“I haven’t used it since I was in high school,” he said. “I think now everybody is on Facebook. I like Facebook better because it’s geared more toward college students. You can connect with people on another campus that you may have lost touch with or with people on your own campus that you know or want to get to know.”
Others agree that BlackPlanet has lost much of its user base for similar reasons. Aaron Davis, a senior marketing major at Howard University, also called it quits with BlackPlanet, saying Facebook is easier to use.
“I use BlackPlanet every now and then, but not as much as before,” Davis said. “It just seems like people aren’t on it as much as they used to be. Maybe it was more of a high school thing.”
On the other hand, some people have abandoned BlackPlanet not for Facebook, but due to their dissatisfaction with the website.
“I still have a BlackPlanet page but I don’t use it anymore,” said Curtisha Travis, a junior biology major at Howard University. “I don’t like the kind of people you meet off of there.”
Nevertheless, the BlackPlanet user base continues to grow. Currently, the site has over 16,482,000 users, at the beginning of the month there was slightly over 16,408,000 users.