Bad practice in social networking

I’m sure you’ll have your own examples, but here are two which have recently annoyed me:

Tagged: Spam Network is apparently

"a premier social networking destination and an ideal place for advertisers to reach their target audience. Tagged provides a fun, safe, and exciting environment for people to showcase their personalities and talents, and to connect with friends and meet new ones.
Tagged is experiencing dramatic growth Advertisers love Tagged because they get clear, uncomplicated access to our audience. Our team is dedicated to making every advertiser successful and can develop and support any type of ad campaign."

So, tagged is a social network for people who enjoy their data being passed on to ad agencies. Fine – a lot of social networks have done well out of this model. What bugs me is the spam invites I keep getting:


What really annoys me is the explicit emotional manipulation – say yes or you might hurt someones feelings. Say no, and (surprise, surprise) you get redirected to Tagged’s registration page. Who knows what happens if you dare to press the unsubscribe button. I’m guessing that your first born gets put into a weekly draw.

More complaints about Tagged here

Next up, citypixel.


Citypixel is a social networking site for lovers of pixel art – it’s an online city made up of over 600 blocks of Isometric buildings, with a population streching from 8 to 48 years old. Its a nice looking site, and the visual representation of a distributed community is interesting (and obviously also provides plenty of space for advertisers). Members are invited to take up residence in one of the apartment blocks and work cubes. The main activity seems to be checking out other peoples apartments – everything is public – and leaving messages about what you think. Leaving aside how creepy I personally find the replication of offline life in online environments (why do I need a toilet in my apartment?) I find the complete absence of online safety advice exasperating. There’s no lower age limit  for membership, no inappropriate content/contact mechanism (there is a generic email the site admin function), and no privacy or friends-only options for your profile and contact info. It’s almost as if the designers had completely overlooked any issues to do with children and young people using the site…

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