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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Someone Sent Me Some Spam Email, So Why Am I The One Feeling Bad?

My friend sent me an email with the subject line "Important!". She's my friend so I opened it of course. It was one of those emails about some supposed massive threat to my computer about a virus that was going to destroy my life as I know it and eat my computer and the desk it sits on and probably my house too and oh by the way snopes.com said it was true and yadda yadda yadda.

So, of course, being me, I clicked on the link for snopes.com just to see what they said. Well, whaddya know. Snopes.com said it was a cross between a Hoax and a bunch of out-of-date information. Seems that once upon a time (a couple of years ago) there was a virus, but as you can well imagine, all the wonderful anti-virus people out there of course wrote an anti-virus program to take care of it almost as soon as it appeared. The link that you had to click on to actually get this virus has been disabled. Long time ago. And yes - you had to actually click on a link to get it.

The hoax part is that this thing has just recently appeared again and is being passed around the internet as if it is a real threat right now - today.

So now I have wasted five minutes reading the dumb thing, and reading the article on Snopes.com. I am mad that my friend has wasted my time sending this thing to me and every single other person in her address book and that they also have had to either take the time to do what I did - or if they didn't - just grabbed their address books and passed it along without checking to everyone they know - inflicting the thing on countless other people to waste their time on.

So I hit REPLY ALL. I wrote back that it was a Hoax and that if someone had just looked at Snopes.com like I did they would have realized that it was a hoax and for everyone to just stop passing it on!

So now my friend is mad at ME! She's mad that I am mad about this email. She's mad that I replied to all her friends.

So now why do I feel bad? She's the one who sent the stupid thing to ME in the first place!

These crap emails waste so much of the entire nation's collective time - forwarding them. Compiling address lists of all our friends to send them to. More groups of people opening and reading them because of course, they are from our friends so we don't just delete them! Every time, five minutes here, five minutes there. It keeps adding up. We all don't have enough time as it is in our lives for the things that do really matter whether it is our family, our work, our spiritual pursuits or whatever. Then we have to lose those precious minutes on this kind of junk mail. And when we find out that it really is just junk mail and react badly to it - our friends who sent it to us in the first place, and wasted our time with it in the first place, want US to feel bad?

And the really crap part of it is that I do. And I don't know why. So now I am mad too.

GRRRRRR! Whoever starts this stuff - I hate YOU!

1 comment:

CivilTongue said...

You and I could be friends :)

I've had this happen and usually don't bother to reply and especially not reply all. The only time I do is when I feel strongly (not just annoyed) at the spam.

However, I'm gonna offer this suggestion - take a different tact next time and you'll both be happier.

Your friend likely sent the email trying to be helpful (which is a little annoying and meddlesome), but her heart was in the right place about it. Her address list is a testament to how many people she thought she was helping. Another guess is tht your friend isn't terribly tech savvy (or she woulda smelled a stale virus and a bcc) - she might have been proud of herself for getting to help with this tech problem FIRST.

So then you come along and call her out to her friends and family. YOU were also trying to be helpful to everyone (but also might have felt a little disgusted/annoyed and needed to vent a little).

You both had pretty good intentions, neither of those intentions were received in the manner you'd hoped.

My guess is that if you responded (or create another email now) with more empathy for her, and more compassionate communication around the wastefullness of the b.s. spam (which is totally annoying and b.s. - you have a good point about the waste of time), she might not only agree with you, but feel closer to you.

Maybe something like, "Hey all, I checked this out on snopes.com and it is no longer valid. It is a pretty useful site and I encourage everyone to use it - did you know that it is estimated that X number of hours are wasted on spam/hoaxes by the average American each year?!? I'm sure *Suzy* is trying to look out for us, but checking snopes first can save us all some time.

Thanks for thinking of me Suzy, but next time you forward one without checking, I'm gonna have to ask you to put a quarter in the jar."

You save face for her and call her out at the same time.

A lot of trouble? Maybe. How good of friends are you? Also, people that don't bcc when they use their entire address book need to be burned on that at least once so they stop sharing our email addresses! (and encourage more spam -you could point that out too to support your argument.)