Years ago at Harvard, one student worked hard to translate the old world of the college's Face Book into a modern, networked guide to who's doing what. That student was, of course, Aaron Greenspan. Then Mark Zuckerberg signed up for his network (houseSYSTEM), ate dinner with him, took his idea and ran.
To be fair, it seems Mark thought of Facebook before he saw houseSYSTEM. But in Aaron's new open letter to Mark, he teases, "When you saw all those features in houseSYSTEM three years ago, you called them 'too useful,' but I stood by them as valuable. Fortunately, even though I shut down houseSYSTEM, I can still use those same features on Facebook—and I didn't even have to write any more code!"
Aaron's cheeky letter goes too far (most of Facebook's users "have no purchasing power," he says of a population mostly made of college alumni), but that's just because Aaron's giddy about relaunching houseSYSTEM as Common Room. So far the site only claims 948 members at 103 colleges and companies, so it's more like the invite-only network aSmallWorld, but without the ludicrously lucrative user base of rich kids who attract BMW and premium vodka advertising. The new site claims to be "an internet within the internet" — forcing the question, "Who needs another Internet?"