Posted by: Steven Harris | October 4, 2007

Facebook Chain Letters

I was a big fan of all the applications and widgets that started appearing on Facebook this year. They seemed like the height of Web 2.0 to me: allow users to mix and match the data and applications they want to use to personalize their space. But I’m noticing a disturbing development lately: what I call Facebook Chain Letters. These are the kind of applications that require you to send invitations to other people to join. Kind of like those email letters that say, “if you don’t forward this email to 10 friends, you’ll have bad luck.” Ef that! I am particular annoyed by Facebook applications in which the default is to send invitations to everyone in your contact list. Then you have to uncheck anyone you don’t want to send the invitation to. I would prefer the kind of application where people see it on my profile and say, “that’s cool. Think I’ll install it too.” The opt-in model. Web 2.0 is largely about the network effect of getting large numbers of people to participate and collaborate…but not by sending them spam and junk mail! I am not going to install any more Facebook applications that require me to spam other users. Forget it! If you don’t forward this message to at least 10 people you will have bad luck! 😉



  1. I agree with you. I never invite friends whenever adding applications, and haven’t added any except when friends invited me to lately. I don’t even like the way some of these applications keep harping at you to do this or that to x number of friends to reach another level. Part of the reason I don’t add a lot is because I always have to make sure to uncheck several checkboxes that are on by default – “put a box on your profile” or “place a link below the profile picture on any page” Gack, what clutter! There are a lot of apps I’d like to use, but not sure it would be worth adding them. None of my friends have sent me any audio comments, for example, and how I would love it if they did! Instead, they send each other and sometimes me dumb chain letters on our fun/super wall. Glargh – got that “Why do we sleep in church, stay awake at movies, don’t talk about God but tell gossip and lies” chain letter on my fun wall yesterday. When I can find a site that debunks it specifically, I’ll post it in reply.

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