Thefacebook is a online directory/social network that revolves around colleges and universities, founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004. What makes it different from those other social networks? Well…
  1. "Search for people at your school." Unlike Friendster, Thefacebook is primarily interested in connecting people at a given university, and so your main social network consists only of people at the same school you're in. It's possible to add friends from other schools, but they're labeled separately as such (under the names of their schools.)
  2. "Find out who is in your classes." Thefacebook gives you the option of listing your current classes through a smart pull-down menu interface. You can list the rosters for your classes or search for people by class, so it's easy to find out if your friends have profiles, or whether that hot chick who sits in front of you is single.
  3. "See a visualization of your social network." I admit I haven't actually tried this, since it requires the SVG plug-in, and I'm too damn lazy to install it. Presumably, it takes the 'degrees of separation' concept further by making a pretty vectorized chart of your social network. This sounds like one of those features that'll get axed later on when it starts bringing down the server.

Other things include options to list your high school, political orientation, residential location, contact info, major ("concentration"), birthday, and summer plans, most of which are searchable items. Interestingly, it seems to keep track of campus newspapers, so your profile will automatically cite you if your name appears in any articles.

Thefacebook is remarkably well-designed and fast, and—mostly because it cuts social networks down to the university-level—it seems to be much more versatile and interesting than Friendster and other humanity-scale social network websites. Unfortunately, everyone is still at the same level, meaning that "collecting friends" without any sort of prioritization is still present. And it doesn't have some of Orkut's cool features, like "crush matching" and instant discussion boards.

As of June 29, 2004, Thefacebook supports Boston College, Berkeley, Brown, Boston University, Caltech, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Florida, Georgetown, Harvard, Michigan, Michigan State, MIT, Northeastern, Northwestern, NYU, Penn, Princeton, Rice, Stanford, Tulane, Tufts, UC Davis, UCLA, UCSB, UCSD, UNC, USC, UVa, Washington, Wellesley, and Yale.

And the website: (Thanks to KilroyWasHere for informing me of Thefacebook's recent addition of Caltech, USC, and UCSB.)