Earlier this month, blogger and co-founder of gas tracking site, Fuelly, Matt Haughey inadvertently emailed 1138 people, asking them to connect on professional social network LinkedIn.It all started when a friend asked Haughey to connect on LinkedIn. “I clicked the ‘connect’ button in the HTML email, and got a page saying we were connected and by the way, do you want to import your address book to find more people?”
One more click and the service presented Haughey with a page showing six people with check boxes. He then unchecked the people he didn’t want to connect with but failed to realise that he only deselected 5 out of 1138 people. One last confirmation click shot out a ton of emails to people Haughey never intended to actually connect with.
Haughey thinks LinkedIn is a virus. While the recipients of Haughey’s emails weren’t infected with a computer virus the address book import feature LinkedIn uses does work very similarly to viruses that email a victim’s entire address book.
Despite the annoyance, Haughey also took away some interesting facts about LinkedIn too. He writes, “after the emails started slowing down, I began reading them all and realised a few things”:
- There are a lot of social media manager type jobs
- A heck of a lot of people work at Facebook now
- Gmail treats subject lines as duplicates on first names and the clear winner of most respond-to LinkedIn requests are from other people named Matt and Matthew. There must be a reason for this.
- People work at a lot of weird startups I’ve never heard of
- It emailed every person I’ve ever interacted with over Gmail, I got one response from someone that works at a trucking company, probably because I fixed a typo of theirs on MetaFilter years ago
This is a great lesson to all social network users. Make sure that you always check to see what you’re actually confirming when presented with a mass email option.
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