My First MySpace Friend: SPAM

MySpaceSo I joined MySpace about a week ago and was already annoyed at the way they sent me my password over email. But then, just a few days later, I got an email with my first MySpace message / friend request from someone named Riley whose profile picture is a girl in a swimsuit. Originally, her (or his?) profile showed the same city and state that I live in, though now it’s been changed to Greenville, Ohio. Here’s the text of the message:

“Heya sunshine!
I recently broke up (9 months ago) and am ready to date once again. I’m not looking for a serious relationship though. It’s too soon. A little about me: I’m adventurous, outgoing and open-minded. I’m pretty good-looking and healthy. I like going out but also dont mind snuggling! If you make me laugh, you’re half way into my heart. I was browsing the site; my best-friend. After figuring out how things worked I came across your profile. I’m interested! I hope you’re not shy and that you’ll respond. Please dont reply directly though, this is really not my profile, I’m just borrowing it. Send your reply to my real email address instead: kate_cannon_x@yahoo..

Thanks and have a nice day!”

Interestingly enough, I’ve used Facebook and LinkedIn for years now and have never had this problem (or the previous password problem I discussed). But MySpace, for being the most popular social network out there, continues to disappoint. And it’s only been one week!

Perhaps I’m the exception rather than the rule, but if anyone joining MySpace for the first time should expect spam posing as a wannabe friend within one week… Wow, it just seems like one more issue to fuel the lack-of-privacy fire.

In MySpace’s defense, they do have some spam settings in the privacy section of your profile. I suppose it’s nice to be able to customize those settings, but I wonder why the default setting gets me spam? I suppose that’s the catch-22 of social networking and privacy: default openness vs. default privacy. What should those defaults be?

I’m personally a fan of “opting in” to the “my profile is accessible to everyone in every possible way” configuration rather than having to “opt out” of it. But I get the impression that, in general, the default demographic for social networks may prefer it the other way around. And that can make implementing decent privacy settings all the more tricky…

Coincidentally, MySpace updated both their terms of use and privacy policy this past week. Of course, it’s not like I read that relatively long legal verbage every day (if ever). So I have no idea what might have changed recently.