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December 17, 2006



Like Tom's post, this strikes me as a wild over-reaction to a harmless bit of online community-building. (Incidentally, part of the registration process is specifying which college you were at and when, so I think the opportunities for passing-off are fairly limited.)

Obviously I don't think I'm a superior being because I went to a Cambridge college, and I wouldn't want anyone else to have that illusion - not for any longer than it took me to get through the interview, anyway. Which I think points to the real difference between our perspectives with regard to this one. If you're in insecure employment and your social network's full of holes, you take all the networking assistance you can get, frankly. (And I bet there are plenty of Oxbridge graduates in that position.)


By way of a postscript, Salon on caste-based social networking.

Will Davies

No, by way of research, I successfully signed up claiming to be born on 1st January 1960 and having attended Balliol College Oxford in the 80s.

The question is: if it's the exclusivity of Oxbridge social capital that is being exploited, then how can there be any value in an online network which makes no attempt at closure? But if it's less elitist than that, and simply about bringing together people who were at university together, why not be less snobbish and use friendsreunited.com?

I never said this was dangerous, just very silly


Well, you went in with 'odious' and 'sinister', which make it sound a bit worse than 'silly'.

And I never said you wouldn't be able to sign up - just that actually getting any use out of it would be exactly as easy or as hard as passing yourself off as an Oxbridge graduate in any other context.

That Salon article is very good on all this.

'It's just yet more proof that cyberspace is hardly a transformative medium. What it's really good at is duplicating, in bits and bytes and packets, exactly the divisions that cut through the offline world.

Which means, naturally, that for every Brahmin group devoted to recovering lost glory, there's a Dalit group aimed at smashing the oppressive system that keeps "untouchables" down. And scores of additional "communities" --"Against the caste system," "I hate caste," "I hate caste and religion" -- that provide gathering places for anti-caste system sentiment.'


Anyone for tennis?



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