Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spams and Scams

I imagine you get these little messages as often as I do: bulk forwardings of homilies and inspirational messages, good-luck charms, ``thinking of you'' and so on. They are usually from well-meaning people on your e-mail list somewhere, and they are a lot less intrusive or potentially virus-laden than most of the other spam that clutters all our in-boxes.
I trash it anyway. Not because I am a Scrooge-like person, but because I stand with brave souls like John Ratliff and others who would like to reduce the amount of unnecessary e-mail we get.
I am sick to death of the scam offers from various widows and orphans of potentates in miserable African countries offering to send millions of dollars to my bank account. I don't need Viagra, thank you. My penis is good enough to get the job done, thank you. No, I don't need ringtones that only imbeciles can here. And so on, add nausea. (no, not ad nauseum)
Since most people don't actually write real letters or even send real cards any more, I wonder what ``friends'' are thinking when they forward chain friendship messages created by someone else. How original is that? I am careful who I call ``friend,'' so I like to think that my very few real friends know that I am thinking of them and know that I wish them well. Sometimes I actually write them or call them or say hi when I see them to reinforce those feelings. I don't send them chain mail.
Blogs are one way people can keep their friends up to speed on what's going on in their lives or what they think is interesting or useful or important enough to share. That's why I am writing this. It's why I hope you'll look at a site called BreakTheChain.org , which discusses this crusade much more eloquently.
I also recommend ScamBusters.org, which gives some useful advice on ways to reduce unsolicited, unwanted or downright unnecessary e-mail messages.