Thursday, March 20, 2008


Janet's recent post about people who forward emails was getting quite a bit of interest. And as my comments there grew too long to be considered polite, I decided it was a topic I would broach as well.

Janet inquired if it would hurt her reader's feelings if she pointed out that they had forwarded an email with false or misleading information. My answer would be no, but you would be hard-pressed to find one of those from me in your in box. I get several hundred emails a day and I often just hit delete if it's not from my immediate circle.

And I have been known to hit forward a few times but I NEVER send anything to my entire address book and ONLY forward something I find laugh out loud funny and then ONLY to those I know will appreciate it as much as I do. So if it passes those requirements, on it goes. And I will say, all on my list have actually told me that when they get a forward from me, they know it will be super funny.

That being said, I really hate getting forwarded emails. First of all, I've been on the net longer than everyone I know. I've seen it all.

The other forwards I hate, hate, hate seem to come from someone who recently added me to their address book. I have a bead customer who orders custom focals from me at $90 each. Within days of my answering her inquiry, here came the emails. This recently happened with an officer in an art guild I belong to as well.

I don't want either of these women mad at me but, I don't want all their junk mail either. I really would LOVE to scream at both of them, "Don't you know how to use your address books???" I really don't think people are aware you can categorize your addresses.... family and friends who don't mind getting an endless flow of nonsense and business associates who might actually not hold you in such high regard for filling their in boxes.

I don't mind jokes if they are brief but the type of forward that gets my panties in a wad are the ones that defame a business or person. You know the "Don't use Febreze... it'll kill your dog." or "Barack Obama is a Muslim," (both TOTALLY FALSE) type of crap. This misinformation hurts businesses / people / reputations and diminishes us as thinking human beings.

What are people thinking when they forward that crap on? Do they really think they are being helpful? As a former newspaper person, the second I hear / read something like that, the hair on my neck stands up. And then I go to Snopes (a database of internet misinformation) and check it out. It only takes a second.

And then I do let the sender know they are sending out false information. Maybe it is my newspaper background that makes me take untruths so seriously but others seem not to care at all.

My "aunt" (really my mom's oldest girlfriend) is one such person. After Hurricane Katrina, she would forward racially derogatory emails almost daily. And granted I was pretty stressed at the time, trying desperately to locate a missing friend. As each came in, it amazed me that such new information was already on Snopes. I would send her links and explain that her emails might dissuade people from helping those in need. And then I would get another. Exasperated, I hit "reply all" and sent the link. Boy, did that stir up a hornet's nest! My poor mother got an earful. But I did not get any more emails...ever! So my aunt is pissed at me... and I'm offended by her. C'est la vie!

The other forwards I get that I so dislike are from close friends / relatives who think hitting the forward button is actual communication! Now THIS really offends me! This happened to me with both my niece and a childhood friend. Before the internet (B.I.), we used to write actual letters and occasionally talk on the phone. A.I., all I get are forwards. I anxiously would open the email, hoping for some tidbit about their lives and it was only a forward. To everyone in their address book no less.

A few years ago, my niece actually had the gall to ask why I never respond to her emails!

"WHAT emails? You emailed and I didn't write back?"

"Well, I send you jokes and stuff all the time and I never hear from you."

I explained about my business, getting tons of emails and that honestly, I only opened her emails to see if it were "real"... something from her/ about her and not just a mass forward.

She got a bit indignant that I just delete them.

"Why would you care? They are not important. They tell me nothing about your life other than you were alive to hit the forward button. But if you ever take time to write me, I will most certainly answer you," I said a bit too indignantly myself.

I think we've spoken once in four years and no more emails either. How on earth could either of these really intelligent women think forwarding emails to me (and everyone else in their address books) implies closeness or requires an answer???

I don't have any answers here but I do wish more people - especially internet newbies or infrequent users - would study up on netiquette a bit before forwarding so much junk.


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Anonymous said...

Oh, I agree with you 100%! When I was actively selling on ebay, I was getting so much stuff from addresses I didn't recognize until it dawned on me that some customers didn't know how to handle their address books and everyone who sent them emails was getting added to their books. I finally started asking those people to please delete me from their address books, a number of them said they didn't know how and I explained.

The friend who sent me the forward I was talking about deletes the original sender's address and only sends forwards to individuals, not even BCCs. That's nice, because I really don't care to have my address included with a bunch of others circulating on stupid forwards. And this friend is one of those people who let you know they're alive only by the occasional forward.

I have a foreign friend, that I've known for more than 20 years, and she tends to forward stuff to everyone in her address book. Some of the forwards are entirely in Spanish, and a lot of them require that you open something to view them, which I'm not about to do because I don't know what demons from Hell would be unleashed in my computer. She's asked me if I ever get her forwards, and I said that I get so many and most of them don't require a reply. But some she sends are chain sh*t where you're supposed to forward to 10 people including the one who sent it to you. I've tried explaining why I hate chain letters but she's superstitious and sends them on.

I hope that before too long, your aunt will realize that you did her a favor, but some people believe they're right and believe what they've read, especially if it confirms their prejudices.

In some ways, it wouldn't bother me not to have email-to be forced back to good old letter writing, even though it takes ages to get a reply.

See, I can write super-long comments too! ;-) Sometimes I have a lot to say on a subject.

Annie said...

You just never know when you give your e-mail address, you just never know if the person will flood your inbox with crap. Sometimes they do and the you have to decide whether or not to say something. And then, when you say something, do they stop? Not! Geez.

You identified the show as Designing Women. You have won acclaim and blogger renown!

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Janet, This subject sure gets people's dander up!

Cellular, Thanks for visiting.

Annie, I'm taking a bow! Can you tell I watch too much tv?

Linda@VS said...

Add me to the list of bloggers who hate forwarded emails. My problem is that I love my "worst offender" forwarders and don't want to hurt their feelings. But I never, never, never pass them on.