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Digging In The Facebook Archives

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On the afternoon of Wednesday February 4, 2004—a full decade before “sliding into your DMs” became a meme—Mark Zuckerberg launched a website called thefacebook.com from his Harvard dorm room, and yadda yadda, you know the rest.

On Monday February 9, 2004 at 11:12pm, I registered for the site from my own dorm room in Harvard Yard.

What follows are the very first unsolicited messages I received from dudes, mostly upperclassmen. I was a freshman. Personal information has been redacted, but timestamps and subject lines are preserved.

2/13, 12:22am
dude, the chinaman is not the issue here

This is a perfect opening line for Tinder circa 2004, because obviously I have listed The Big Lebowski as one my favorite movies. This message was entirely my fault.

2/17, 3:42pm
itunes
hey silvia. i wanted to let u know how much i love listening to you music. (even though i already told u this). I am also “Punk and country.” I knew that you had to be from southenr california, and i was happy to find u on thefacebook to confirm my suspision. Did u see yellowcard when they were at BU earlier this year? they were awesome. Do you know that Thrice will be coming here on march 18th. im going for sure…thats a local band for me that i love. just wanted to let you know about it.

2004 was a great time to be alive and on iTunes in college because you could peep your neighbor’s libraries through your shared network and see their emo playlists. This guy’s cousin was my math professor.

2/21, 3:13am
hey silvia-
I just wanted to let you know that your picture really stands out. I was just wondering, do you get many comments on it, or am I the only one? Do people come up to you in the Yard and ask you to “make the facebook face”?
jes wonderin
[redacted]

My very first profile picture was a sepia-toned black-and-white picture of me winking and smiling, which signified that I was both cool and cute (see above). No one ever asked me to make the face.

2/13, 11:24am
2 nite
My roommate says you’re an all-star and I’m wondering what you’re up to tonight… My date for the Delphic date event had to take off last minute for the weekend. I’d love to bring a random girl rather than one of the many other harvard gal-friends that I already know I’m not interested in…. Besides, I can show you what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass.
jk
but for real, you down for this tonight??? pathetic way to find a date but Promises to be a killer time. hit me back soon. please.

This was the exact moment I learned what it was like to be a woman on the Internet!

5/10, 8:24pm
You’re in [redacted] house next year? [Redacted] invited me to the dance performance this weekend and I was pleasantly surprised by how good your team is. costumes were sweet, too.
[Redacted]’s the tightest residence so you’re in luck. holla back if you ever want a house tour
IM OUT,
[Redacted]
p.s. “me talk pretty one day” is a hilarious book…gave it to my dad for his birthday and he loved it

Yes, I was on the dance team. But “house tours” are not a thing.

10/25, 5:14pm
Friends
Hi Silvia,
I noticed that we went to the same high school. This is a trivial point of conversation since we never knew eachother, but it is worth raising. Yes, I did go to [Redacted]. Now that we got that straightened out, cool, I can relax. Ok, so down to the meat. I would be honored if you would be my facebook friend. I don’t know you, but your picture makes me think that you are friendly, and therefore would make a good friend. Perhaps this might lead to a regular conversation. As long as we never talk about the weather, I don’t really care. Good day.
Sincerely,
[Redacted]

Like he said, we didn’t know each other. I didn’t reply. Good day.

12/28, 12:53am
I can’t believe someone else listed natural peanut butter as an interest. That’s fantastic.

Can you believe it?

2/8, 10:49pm
i see that you love cooking, and you love sweet things, and you have really pretty teeth… also you have a lot of my friends as your friends. so doing the math, i see we should get together and be friends

This guy’s current Cover Photo is a picture of him in a hammock with his two-year-old daughter <3.

5/7, 10:41pm
hey girl. I like you. Lets get together. Oh, and I like it when they spit, too. Remember that!

5/8, 1:55am
Hey Silvia, I am really sorry about that message earlier. I’m sure you know already, but it was my friend [Redacted] who wrote that when I wasn’t there. I hope you were not offended and don’t worry, I’ll get him back!
-[Redacted]

Alex, I’ll take THE WORST for $400. What are: dudes on the Internet who think nobody’s looking?

Silvia Killingsworth is the Managing Editor of The New Yorker. She has never enabled universal DMs on Twitter.

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