When thefacebook.com was launched at Bowdoin last summer, it caught on quickly and spread through the Bowdoin community like wildfire.

By the first week of school, nearly the entire campus was signed up, and numbers today are topping more than 1700, with loyal members including not only current students and alumni, but also a few faculty and staff members. With such a fast and successful introduction, it's hard to imagine another web service that could rival thefacebook.com?until BowdoinMatch.com.

BowdoinMatch.com was reintroduced during the second week of spring vacation 2005 and, if the hype is anything like its first launch a year ago, it will catch on and quickly become thefacebook.com's arch-nemesis. Well, maybe not quite, but the crew over at CampusMatch.com has added some features that will allow the dating-specific site to act more like thefacebook.com's community.

First up on the new features list is the "friends" function, which acts just like thefacebook.com's friend feature. Unfortunately this may end up being redundant and people will spend time trying to update their BowdoinMatch.com lists to mirror their thefacebook.com lists. However, BowdoinMatch.com is much quicker and easier to use, so there is some hope for this new feature.

Again, just like thefacebook.com is the new Match Mobile feature, allowing you to use your mobile phone to call up information about people through text messaging services. Thefacebook.com added this feature around the same time that Bowdoin was added to their network. Hopefully anyone who is curious about this feature will have unlimited text messaging added to their service plan because texting can pad your cell bill pretty quickly.

What makes BowdoinMatch.com completely unique is its dating-specific goal. There are several tools that allow you to look up information about other people, but most importantly are three features, two of which are completely new.

Match Link, the feature that allows you to establish a list of 50 people with whom you'd like to "get together" (insert your own interpretation), can potentially match you up with people who have added you to their list as well. When your list is created, the people on it have no idea that they have been added until they add you to their list. At this point, an email is sent to both parties indicating the mutual interest, and you can take it from there. Match Link is a fun function that can allow for some interesting encounters. It is a great feature for those people who are perhaps a little too nervous to go and break the ice or who never thought they had a chance. Hey, make a list?prove yourself wrong!

One new feature that BowdoinMatch.com has added is the Date Request System. This reminds me of those times in high school when you were too nervous to talk to the other person, so you decided to slip a note into their locker asking them if they'd go out with you. Except that I didn't have lockers in high school... and it was all boys... so come to think of it I never did that. I think I saw it in a movie once.

A second new and potentially very fun feature is the MatchMaker feature. Once you have established a list of friends, you can set up two of them on a date. Well, the date is their job, but you can suggest it. BowdoinMatch.com proposes that you use this feature for people who "just seem like they're made for each other, like every aspect of the one complements the other's in perfect harmony like the dance of the sun and moon across the metaphorical sky, lighting up the world with the terrible beauty of their ethereal fire. Or maybe they're both sort of lonely and desperate and you wish they'd just sleep with each other so they'd finally have someone else to cling to and you can get on with your own attempts at getting it on." Either way, this feature potentially could be fun.

BowdoinMatch.com is certainly back on the scene and with witty references and innuendo in its questionnaire and humor hidden in all of its descriptions and directions, it is certainly worth a second look.

Oh, did I mention that the class of 2008 was added to it? And for those of you seniors, don't worry; there is now an alumni feature as well. With new features and more schools joining the network, thefacebook.com has found a formidable rival in BowdoinMatch.com.