By Annette Vitkievicz
Some Cal Poly students tend to cattle on campus. Others raise
livestock and plow gardens without leaving their laptop.
While Facebook is primarily a social networking Web site, many
users play popular games like FarmVille, which is one of more than
52,000 applications available for download.
According to All Facebook, an application tracking Web site, the
virtual farming game is a top application and rakes in more than 28
million users a day.
“I just plant and harvest things and make sure nothing dies,”
said Christina Hennings, a third-year psychology student. “It keeps
me busy when I have nothing else to do.”
Hennings said although she adds many applications to her
profile, FarmVille is the only game she plays regularly.
Facebook applications are sorted into categories such as
Education, Lifestyle and Just For Fun.
Developers have created an application for almost every topic,
from promoting non-profit organization support with Causes to
drawing on a friend’s profile using Graffiti.
Connor Duckworth, a fourth-year management and human resources
student, prefers using travel application TripAdvisor as opposed to
games like FarmVille.
“I don’t play because I know I’d get addicted to it,” said
Duckworth. “I mainly use Facebook to keep in touch with
Games and light-hearted applications tend to be more popular
than practical applications.
For example, Courses 2.0, an application which connects students
with others enrolled in the same classes, has 40,000 active users
while aquarium-simulating game FishVille has nearly 400,000 active
Jenna O’Donnell, a first-year political science student, said
she notices a large difference between Facebook games and
traditional video games.
“They’re nothing like actual video games because they are much
simpler,” said O’Donnell. “FishVille is my favorite because I can
actually keep the fish alive, unlike in real life.”
Some applications are non-competitive and are used solely for
While Facebook’s standard poking option simply alerts friends
they have been poked, Super Poke application users may virtually
high five, drunk dial or throw sheep at friends.
Jenna Skulski, a third-year liberal studies student and frequent
Super Poker, said she enjoys the playful poking application because
it gives her a sense of fantasy.
“You get to do crazy things to people and get away with it,”
said Skulski. “I can acknowledge people but not necessarily write
them a message.”
Virtual restaurant game Cafe World, friendship survey Social
Interview and role-playing application Mafia Wars also rank on All
Facebook’s top ten most popular application list.
Mafia Wars allows its 26 million users to create a family with
Facebook friends, purchase weapons, commit crimes and engage in
other mobster activities.
Terence Woore, a fourth-year computer science student, said
while he does play Mafia Wars, his favorite application is Bumper
Sticker, a method for friends to swap humorous pictures between one
Woore said he frequently sends and receives bumper stickers
because they lighten his mood.
“Some of the stickers are ridiculously funny,” said Woore.
While Bumper Sticker and most applications are free, many games
offer users the option of purchasing items with real money to gain
In FarmVille, players may buy $20 virtual tractors or more land
in order to quickly advance in the game.
San Francisco-based company Zynga, the developers of FarmVille,
Mafia Wars, Cafe World and others, made $100 million in revenue
last year with the help of advertisements and in-game
While Woore said he has never used real money on an application,
he has spent a considerable amount of time on various games.
“It’s definitely increased my procrastination skills,” said
With 140 new applications being added per day, users will
continue to have plenty of procrastination methods to choose from.
Reach Annette Vitkievicz at:
Roland Tran/Poly Post
Students opt for Facebook’s applications
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