Daily Archives: February 27, 2009

Friendly Spam (kinda like friendly fire)

Y’know, I’ve been online via email since 1989. I was there when Al Gore created the internet! Okay, so maybe I wasn’t there—but neither was Al Gore! But I have been on email longer than most…and as a result I’ve had my share of spam over the years. I’ve already written about spam, so I won’t go there again. But what about friendly spam?

What is “friendly spam,” you ask? Well, I’m gonna tell ya!

Friendly spam is that email you receive from friends and family; more specifically, it ends up being some forwarded message that’s been through about a thousand people and you happen to be the most recent recipient. Stay online long enough and you’ll begin to see some of the same forwards make their way back into your inbox…likely from someone different—possibly even from the same person. If you’re lucky, your name will be picked up by one of the hundreds who also received the friendly spam and then you’ll be added to their list as well and begin receiving junk email from them as well—from someone you don’t even know.

That’s really what the friendly spam is, isn’t it? Junk email?

I have a relative who finally got an email account. They emailed me initially and I rejoiced they’d entered the digital age. Then, the next 100 times I heard from them it was ALL forwarded emails, 99% of those I’d already read before. There was never a personal note or a “hey, Roland, how’s life” attached to it…it was just bulk forwarded to everyone they knew. So how do you tell a relative or even a good friend to stop sending you junk mail without making them mad? Tough, ain’t it?

What’s frustrating is to get those patriotic messages forwarded with the insult attached to them. You know the kind I’m talking about: “forward this if you love your country, delete it if you don’t care about the U.S. of A.”

Or how about the religious ones that tell a very inspiring story and then end with: “forward this if you love Jesus. If you could care less, hit the delete key.” Suggesting, of course, that if you don’t forward, your final elevator is headed to the basement of afterlife.

Or how about the ones that promise something “good” will happen? “Forward this to 5 people and something good will happen in 5 days. Forward this to 10 people and something good will happen in 2 days. Forward this to 100 people and you’ll become rich as The Don.”

That’s just flat insulting. I don’t send out much junk mail (yes, yes, I DO send some, mostly to the same few people) and don’t like to be told I’m unpatriotic, or don’t love Jesus, etc. for not forwarding mail. Even though it’s from friends, it’s still spam.


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