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MyCellBlock Social Network Site For Prisoners Launches

MyCellBlock Social Network Site For Prisoners Launches

WALPOLE, Mass. (CAP) - Does the Internet need another social network? Keith Pires thinks so, and his startup firm Active Shadow Media is banking on 2.2 million Americans thinking so as well. On Monday, ASM's new site, MyCellBlock.com opens in private beta to America's prison population.

"There is a huge untapped market out there that has yet to be exploited, and our goal is to get there before Google does," said Pires, himself an inmate at MCI-Cedar Junction serving 14 years for embezzling and money laundering.

Billed as "the only social network made up entirely of 13-year-old girls," MyCellBlock is described as the niche between LinkedIn-style business networking and MySpace-style personal misrepresentation. And there's a developer API for those inmates who want to dabble in building widgets.

"We've got forums on how to get more tartar sauce with your fish sticks, the best ways to barter favors with guards, making a shank from pretty much anything," said Pires. "Basically we want to be the one-stop shop for all things prison life."

To that end, Pires said the first upgrade to the site will be a virtual reality game called SecondChance, due next month. It affords inmates the opportunity to live the life they don't have: holding jobs, playing Whist with friends, going to sleep on their stomachs without worrying about having their asses violated.

While reaction to the new site has been mostly positive, Massachusetts corrections officials are concerned about the solidarity it could foster among convicts throughout the country.

"That's all we need is for our guys to find out that some other prison is paying $6 an hour to make license plates when we're only paying $5.50," said one Cedar Junction guard who asked to remain anonymous for fear of having his throat slit. "It's bad enough we let them watch reruns of that old show Prison Break; we don't need a damn union forming."

MyCellBlock isn't Pires' first foray into the world of social networking, but it's likely to be his most successful. His other sites - MyTerrorCell, FUTube and AOLQaeda - have all met an early demise after semi-successful beta launches.


- CAP News Staff

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