Wednesday, October 29, 2008

An antisocial social network: A mini-rant

This weekend, while surfing the net, I signed up to join an equestrian social networking web site. the site begins with a "b" but I'll call it StableMate (wink wink, nudge nudge). A social network for horse folks, sounds pretty cool, right? Well, my experience was decidedly uncool. The drama unfolds...

Saturday afternoon

  1. I join Stablemate, log in, and start exploring. My goal is to find a way to connect with other horse people in my geographic area á la Facebook and LinkedIn.
  2. Hey, here's a link that says Connect. I click, and rather unexpectedly I see instructions for setting up a blog. Like I need another one of those. No thanks.
  3. I explore the StableMate member's blogs. There aren't many there. In short order, I run across a blog that redirects to a Blogspot blog. Okay, that I can do, and blogs seem to be the only communications vehicle.
  4. I go back to the Stablemate blog page, and after two unsuccessful attempts, I create a blog with an introduction and a URL to my BTB blog.
  5. Fine. But blogging isn't why I came to this site. Where's the social networking part? I see links to Classifieds and a few other options, but no community.
  6. Having had my way with this shiny Net object, I log off and move on to other destinations.
Monday late afternoon
I check my gmail account. There's a message from StableMate with the header Your blog has been deleted. I get three of these messages, all identical.

Your blog My blog has been deleted.
It may have been deleted by moderator or by yourself.

Hi, I received this message but there is no explanation. I'm guessing you have a policy against redirects? I was hoping your site would let me pull in content via RSS. My blog does not advertise or sell anything. Also I did see another member posting a redirect to her non-Stablemate site. I'm surprised you deleted it without any warning or explanation...

You did nothing but advertise your blog on BarnMate's blog. This is basically nothing more than publishing spam. You also did this three times so there was multiple blogs all doing the same thing.

Ok, so now I have NO INTEREST in participating on this site. My delicate sensibilities are offended. In fact, I'm scandalized that they would call my innocent attempts to explore their site "spam." Me! A librarian! A model computer citizen!

To paraphrase, I inform them...
  • I'm not a spammer, but I did have trouble using the site and may have accidentally duplicated my blog.
  • I wanted to use the site to connect with other local equestrians, not to blog.
  • I only tried to add my blog because blogging is the only social forum available on this site.
  • Another Stablemate member has a redirect to a Blogspot blog site. That's why I assumed it was okay.

THEY WRITE (rather huffily I might add):
The member with the blog redirect in question is a member in good standing and long time contributor. So it seems her blog redirect is hunky-dory. Mine is Evil, capital E.

The member with the blog redirect has a fairly well known blog, and I've almost certainly seen her comments on my blog. I decide to log in to StableMate to refresh my memory on which blog it is. After entering my username and password, a message displays: You are banned from this site.

Good lord. I'm done!

You should expect confusion if StableMate allows some users to violate policy and not others. For a social network, your practices are decidedly unfriendly. Good luck with your site, it ain't for me!

In the final analysis
Even if I had not had this experience, Stablemate is a disappointment. While StableMate bills itself as a social networking site, it just doesn't have the functionality of other Web 2.0-type sites. These sites rely on participation of the target audience to be successful, and there just weren't many people there. For all of the above reasons, I give it a thumbs down...


  1. Hi, I hope you don't mind but I tagged you for a game of "Book Tag". I thought it would be nice to tag some of the bloggers that I've recently discovered and get to know the 'new' (to me) folks.

    The rules can be found at my blog on the post "Tag I'm 'it'"

  2. Not at all, I'll do this for Saturday's post. Thanks!

  3. Good information to know. I have an account with Behind the Bit, but haven't had time to really use it yet.

  4. Wow. Just wow. They are missing the entire point of a social network. You don't ban people because they have trouble with your site. You fix it! Thanks for bringing this to our attention, so that we can avoid it too.

    Social networking can be wonderful when done right, whether you are running the site, participating in it, or using it as a marketer to connect with your customers. It really isn't hard to do well when you act with common sense and courtesy. Amazing how many people just don't get it.

  5. Wow, I found the same thing with one blog that used to be a blog and then turned into something like that and all they wanted from other bloggers was free content. I deleted myself or they delelted me, which ever. Why give them free content when it has nothing to with social networking! I'm with ya there!

  6. What a pain. Not much in the way of customer service, are they?

  7. Oh well... They should review the basics of Web Social Marketing 101. This conduct is really lame. I guess they want a very secluded community which is totally defeating the purpose. Thanks for letting us know and let's keep blogging!


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