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Social Networking - aka Social Spamming

I'm a bit leery of social networking sites (primarily facebook and myspace). Too big a target for hackers to steal account information and whatnot. Facebook in particular I've noticed has had a pretty big share of those sorts of goings on.

In addition, my principles object to visiting any site where you can't see user-created content without signing up first. Certain forums are that way and I can understand and accept using that sort of mechanism to keep bandwidth down and to keep spammers out. But for massive destinations like these social networking sites, it feels instead like a big pyramid scheme of acquiring email addresses and that irks me. Sign up, then get your friends to sign up, then get their friends to sign up, and on, and on, and on - all the while amassing a massive database of email addresses which can be sold to companies wanting to spam you.

The whole mechanism of linking "friends" internally to the site also bugs me. It gives rise to people you don't know, and likely you don't want anything to do with, bugging you to become their "friend" so they can likely brag about how many "friends" they have or some other ulterior motive.

What irks me most of all is that they urge their users to tell their friends who are not a part of the site to send you emails saying something along the lines of "I have a new website but you have to sign up to see it." To me, you might as well be saying to me "hey, I've made a new advertisement for a spam site, give your email to them in order to see it!" Somehow I don't think you'd get many visitors if you phrased it that way.

If I receive an email with a subject line of "Check out my Facebook profile" there's a high probability of me deleting it without ever reading it. I automatically assume any message with a generic subject starting with "Check out..." is spam unless it comes from a person I know very, very well.

Some day I may feel the need to open up a page on one of these sites, as an advertising outlet, but I'm not quite ready to do that just yet.

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