It was claimed that 2004 was the Year of Social Software. Flickr, Del.icio.us and LinkedIn are all wonderful applications that became hot in the last year, UUZone in China also got the lead. Everything went on well.
Meanwhile, I am not sure if I am 100% comfortable about the emails sent out by some social software.
Here is one example:
“Can You Believe it?”
From : name of my friend <Name of my email@example.com>
Sent : Thursday, February 3, 2005 5:21 AM
To : <My email address>
Subject : name of my friend (4th request)
Can you believe it — this is the fourth request to be in name of my friend‘s friend
If this means that you do not care to be in name of my friend‘s mobile friend network, then just say so – and save both of you the hassle. It only takes a few seconds!
Just click here to confirm or reject your relationship with name of my friend
http://www.sms.ac/registration/Intro.aspx?InviteId= some random number
If you don’t want to be invited by your friends, just click on the link above and choose block future invitations from family and friends.
Well. They started the letter with “Can you believe it”. You know what, my immediate response was, can you believe it that after I deleted their emails for three times, they are still sending out the so-called invitation to me to ask me to accept, or reject. If I didn’t reply the previous three emails, are you smart enough to know that I am not interested in that? Do I have to open the email, navigate to your site and click reject so that I can get peace? You certainly know I don’t want to click reject and have them say “NO” to my closet friends. Do I have the right to keep silence?
I have about 20 mails from the this website in my inbox. For some friends, it is the 3rd or 4th invitation and for some, it was the 1st or 2nd… Well. I had about 10% of my inbox filled up of all kinds of invitation, some of which started with “Can you believe it”.
Where is My Right and My Privacy?
When more and more of my friends join all kinds of social software websites, my contact information was shared to more and more websites by my closest friends. They started to send out invitation to me to grow our THEIR network at the cost of MY time and MY privacy.
One member to their network means more than 20 people got spammed. The website may argue it is not Spam, because it was my friend who initiated the distribution of the email, not the site. Well. I accept the explaination. It was not Spam, but this does not help me to feel less annoyed of their letters.
Social Network! But Whose Network?
Social software started with the good intention to help people to manage their social networks and social relationships. With traditional methods, people will forget to say hi to friends at holidays. With the software, it can automatically remind you about the important days and the important friends. This is what the Social Software should do. I guess at this time, there is a good balance of what the software do and what human being do.
If the software goes one step further to send the “hi” letter to their friends automatically, even without the awareness of the sender, and worse, if the reception can automatically reply something like “thank you” without the reception’s action, I start to wonder whether it is the relationship of the two sites, the two program or the relationship of the two real person?
I Discourage New Social Software Websites
Remember the man in Manhattan who posted to hire a social software coordinator?
Future duties may include discouraging companies and individuals from starting new social networking sites so that additional staff won’t be necessary in the future
I have the same idea.
- One person can run very nice blog, or personal website. This is why blog became so hot.
- 20 persons can run very nice BBS. So BBS was popular.
- 100 well-educated people with passion and ethical behavior can support a PUBLIC wiki site, so there are not as many famous Wiki site as blog sites, or BBS.
- If a social network requires 10,000+ registered user before it becomes useful, you bet the result.