I received a couple of invitations to Shelfari, yet another social networking site, this one aimed at book lovers. Since I am, at least by my own standards, a book lover, I decided to give it a try.

I created a Shelfari account and, as part of the registration process, was asked if I wanted to search for “friends” that were already members. I logged into gmail, and was presented with a list of gmail contacts that were already Shelfari members, with an offer to link them as friends. Well, since they were already friends of mine, and they were already Shelfari members, I clicked the “Send Invites” button.

Shelfari then proceeded to send invitations to every email in my gmail address book.

Oh boy.

If I had scrolled down a little further (PAST the “Send Invites” button), I would have noticed that Shelfari had neatly extracted the contents of my address book and tagged every single entry for a Shelfari invitation. I should have looked more carefully at what I was doing, but the timer on the internet station at the Newport Public Library was counting down to zero, so I was moving a little faster than I should have.

Please believe me when I tell you that I would never have sent a broadband invitation like that intentionally. So, if you are one of those folks now getting spammed by Shelfari, please accept my profoundest apologies. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I’m more than half tempted to cancel my membership in disgust, but since I’ve been on vacation I haven’t had a chance to look into it at all, so I’ll give it one more chance. But Shelfari better knock my socks off.