We receive thousands of press releases a week at the Chronicle. Our general e-mail inbox is stuffed with companies hoping for free ink every day. And of all those thousands of releases, I read approximately one every month.
Lucky you, I decided to write a blog post about the one press release I read this month.
The subject line of the e-mail was “Don’t Let Drunk Facebooking Happen to You! – FREE SOCIAL MEDIA SOBRIETY TEST.”
It seems a company in Boulder, Colo., called Webroot has identified a pressing social concern: embarrassing tweets, Facebook updates and other online postings.
Rather than go after the cultural norms and social circumstances that put the “drunk” in the drunk posting problem, Webroot decided to write a Firefox addon. It’s called the Social Media Sobriety Test, and it’s designed, the company says, as “the ultimate ‘bad idea’ protector.”
I suppose we can’t fault them too much for the route they took to solve the problem. They are a technology company, after all, not a sobriety club. But I digress.
Once installed, the addon gives its users a sobriety test before they are allowed to go to common social networking sites. The tests include things like dragging your mouse in a straight line and typing the alphabet backwards. Once you have completed the tests to the addon’s satisfaction, you are allowed to post photos to Flickr to update your Tumble blog.
Webroot includes Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Tumblr, Gmail and Hotmail on its out-of-the-box list of test-protected sites. You can add whatever URL you’d like to the block list too.
You might recall a while back — maybe last year — when Google made a similar feature available in Gmail Labs called Mail Goggles, which aimed to stop hasty, drunk e-mails. I guess the Webroot addon takes the battle against drunk posting to the next level.
I wasn’t aware that it was a problem that had levels. But I’ve been wrong before. Like the need to scramble an egg inside its shell or carry a fishing pole in my pocket or wear a robe backwards (I mean cover myself in a blanket with sleeves), I’m sure the drunk posting problem will be validated in time.