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Psychology of Facebook

Sick of boring and predictable classes? Philosophy 101, Economics 201, Boring 101. How about studying something that always has your interest? Like the psychology of…Facebook?

This past fall, BJ Fogg, Ph.D., worked with two other instructors to start the course “Create Engaging Web Applications Using Metrics and Learning on Facebook” at Stanford University. While applications can become overwhelming, they are extremely popular. Applications, like other technologies, are constantly changing, making them a challenge to build. Students must evolve their skills as needed and sometimes, according to Fogg, old knowledge must be tossed away. Students build applications for the class and some graduates from the fall semester have already successfully cashed in with their apps!

The course also questions the meaning behind profile photos and what others perceive from your question mark, sideways photo (oops, forgot to rotate!) or seductive pose. Like the proverb says, a picture is worth a thousand words. Think of this as a reminder to make your words be good ones.

The project has a group on Facebook, which is not surprising, here’s the cool part: non-students can request to join and get involved. First dibs go to the class—but Fogg encourages others to give it a shot. Whether apps are cool in your book, or not, you have to admit that a class focused on Facebook is totally awesome. [BBC]

Posted: 4/21/08