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Social Network Insecurity

Why are social networks so insecure?

If Facebook was completely self-confident, then why does it send emails letting you know you have a Facebook email that don’t tell you what the message is?

MySpace is at least as egregious, and in some ways is more irksome. Consider their birthday alert email. The subject is "One of your friends is having a birthday this week," and the text says:

Birthday Reminder
One or more of your friends have birthdays coming up this week —

Visit MySpace to check out who!

I tried going to MySpace to opt out of these alerts, but there’s no way to do it, even though they give you control over a number of other settings. I’d create a filter in Yahoo Mail, but it’s a tedious process, and you get a limited number of filters for free (I may well switch my MySpace account to my more frequently used Gmail address so I can at least better filter the messages I receive).

Yes, every pageview counts, but so does the experience of networks’ members.

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Comments to: Social Network Insecurity
  • Avatar
    November 26, 2007

    > but so does the experience of networks’ members
    And this is the big question about social networks – “does it really?”
    I fear that the “value” of a social network to me is almost entirely dominated by one metric : the number of my contacts who use THAT particular network.
    All the shiny features in the world don’t mean much to anyone in the majority if they can’t contact the people they need. This is why we continue to put up with REALLY rubbish solutions – like, well, email – because it’s the solution that everyone has.
    Going to be interesting to see whether, say, Google OpenSocial can create enough interconnectedness BETWEEN the networks to change that model. (Which, after all, is pretty much how email got ubiquitous – because Compuserve and AOL and CIX and whoever COULD cross-communicate.)

  • Avatar
    November 26, 2007

    You’re right of course, David, that this is an annoyance, and is motivated by a lack of confidence (you called it “insecurity”). They are not confident that any given member will revisit regularly and discover their messages / wall writings / whatever.
    Providing an opt-out makes perfect sense. Another smart option is giving folks who have unlimited texting plans the ability to receive these notifications via SMS, similar to the Facebook Feeds notices available now.
    It’s going to be interesting to watch how social networking sites cope with the diverse segments of users — the blazing red power users versus the green neophytes, and every color of the rainbow in between. It will be keeping UI pros and developers fully employed for quite some time.


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