Facebook a safer, more effective tool for finding roommates than Craigslist

Roommates–you either love them or you hate them. In the two years I’ve lived in San Francisco I’ve had nine roommates and I found the majority of them through Craigslist. Most of them were great, but some of them–not so much.

Recently I’ve noticed that Facebook is being used more frequently as a roommate finder for college students. It is a better alternative than Craigslist for those who want to use an online medium to figure out living situations.

Facebook is already a part of the average college student’s everyday life, but it also provides an informal and accessible forum for students to sort through and get to know the people they will live with.

Facebook pages like the International Education Exchange Council’s can make things easier for SF State students.

The IEEC’S Facebook page, which has more than 3,500 friends, is a place for the organization to post its upcoming events. IEEC is the biggest on-campus organization and its purpose is to bring the students of SF State together with the many foreign exchange students from all over the world, according to its website.

Andre Chomin-Caderas, a 19-year-old sophomore and criminal justice major, moved here from the United Kingdom as an exchange student earlier this month. He and his roommates all found each other from postings on the IEEC Facebook page, including their fifth roommate, another exchange student from France. When they needed to find a last-minute replacement as a roommate, they knew exactly which website to turn to.

Two hours after they posted their request they had already received about five responses. Together, they could determine who would be the best pick for their house in the Sunset district based on these posts.

My experience with finding somewhere to live and finding roommates on Craigslist was tedious and even a little creepy.

When I first moved out to San Francisco I emailed at least 20 different people looking for somewhere to live before the fall semester started. When I got no replies I posted my own ad about myself and how I was looking for a place to stay.

I received a few emails regarding my post on Craigslist, mostly from males despite my clear statement that I wanted to live with girls only. One emailed response asked me how I felt about living with an older male who was looking to be more than just roommates. I never responded to that particular message. It was a very stressful and difficult time in the midst of preparing for my first semester at SF State.

Using Craigslist to find roommates is not only difficult but those who use it also run the risk of getting scammed.

Rachael Marie Smith, 30, of San Francisco pled guilty to three charges of grand theft on Monday, after she stole a total of $110,000  from people she came in contact with through Craigslist. She is expected to spend two years in jail after taking a security deposit and first months rent of $5,600 from about 18 different people interested in moving into her Outer Richmond district apartment.

I used Craigslist in the past to secure living situations because I didn’t realize that I had other options. Facebook is a great way for college students to come in contact with each other and find roommates easily. However, if you decide to use Craigslist be prepared for scams, danger and stressful, sleepless nights.