From Letter Grades to Friend Requests: Social Media & The College Hook Up


Between the 1920s and World War II, dating on college campuses was much different than it is today. It wasn’t about Facebook or meeting up intoxicated at a fraternity party, it was all about a thing called "rating." Rating was when a woman would get a letter grade by the men on campus. The closer your grade was to an "A," the more popular you were considered and you would get asked on more dates. But the thing was, you could never date or been seen with a guy or a girl that had a grade below yours. That would obviously spoil your reputation. Today, it is much different and what plays a huge role in college dating, or I should say, college hook ups, is a little thing we like to call, Facebook.           

When you upload new pictures, change your profile picture, change your cover photo, post a new status, or even the different ways you write ‘happy birthday’ on someone else’s wall are all done in the public eye. You very well know that every one of your Facebook friends, whether it is 200 or 2,000, can see each move you make. Through Facebook, people create a certain image of themselves. They untag the pictures they believe they look ugly in and always edit their profile pictures in order to make themselves look tanner or skinnier than they actually are. Why do we do this? What does Facebook have to do with the college hook up scene? A lot.

Facebook is the new first impression. You add someone on Facebook that you spot from across one of your lecture classes. Probably not because you know them well or even had a single conversation with them, but because they are attractive. Facebook allows you to search through their photos and really get a sense for what this person is like. Now that Facebook has the timeline set up, it is even easier to search through all of their information dating back to the day they created their profile. Does this seem creepy or informative? I haven’t quite nailed that question yet, however I do know that all of this searching and "Facebook stalking" is popular everywhere with any age group. Facebook users believe that the better you look in your photos and the more fun you look like you're having will essentially entice the opposite sex. It is crazy how much social media plays a role in our personal lives. Without Facebook, how would we know what people are like? Would we actually have to have sober conversations with them? This may seem like a refreshing idea to some but to others the world of face-to-face conversations has silenced itself. The age of talking over a computer screen is much more comfortable and the norm.

            Moving past the initial stages of seeing each other on Facebook, the hooking up starts. You see a Facebook mutual friend at a party; the mutual friend can provide common ground. Now the Facebook relationship has moved from the computer screen to an interpersonal connection. After a few parties together is when we start to see these two people in photos together. One Facebook user on Pitt’s campus says, “That is how everyone knows people are hooking up or dating, they are in tons of pictures on Facebook together. Whether they are at the bar or standing in front of the Cathedral, you just know.” Taking a step back and looking at this whole idea from the standpoint of a person who has never had a Facebook, to them, it seems kind of silly. But to the college and high school generation, this is our way of "rating." This is our way of seeking out a person who we believe to be attractive or want to pursue a little bit more. Sometimes, I have to admit, the capabilities of Facebook can cross the line, but don’t you think assigning people of the opposite sex a letter grade is a bit ridiculous as well?