>Fw: Random Acts of Spamness

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If you’re like me, you receive tons of junk mail in your (snail) mail box every day. I know I bring some of this on myself, because I’m a catalogue shopper. And it really doesn’t bother me too much, since it only takes a minute or two to toss it in the trash, after weeding out the goodies, like Bed Bath & Beyond’s 20% off coupon.

And now that I’ve got Gmail, I get very little junk mail, compared with the amount I got when using Yahoo. Most of it lands in my Spam box anyway. But here’s what’s bothering me. It’s the random acts of Spamness that arrive in my inbox, often from friends, so I know I might be stepping on some toes here.

Several times a day I see these two dreaded letters in the subject box, “Fw:” You know the “Fw:”s I’m talking about:
Sometimes it’s 500 pictures of precious baby animals.
Or a sentimental poem about best friends or mothers and children.
Or maybe a warning about a catastrophic internet virus that turns out to be an urban legend.

The point is, it arrives uninvited into my personal inbox, where it takes up my time because I have to do something about it. I can delete it without opening it, but then I take the chance that it might actually be something personal and valid. So I usually open it, see that it’s not something worth my time, and delete it. Without a pang of guilt as I ignore the final sentence, which often reads something like this, “Please send this to everyone you know immediately.” Not going to happen. Ever. Even if it tells me that baby animals will die if I don’t do it. I don’t like threats.

I’m a writer and I work out of my home. Even so, I receive close to 50 emails some days. My husband, who is a physician, gets several times more emails a day than that. I can imagine the crowded email boxes of lots of folks who are in business, marketing, and other arenas which thrive on use of the social media.

So, I’m asking: How do you deal with these random acts of Spamness? Do you censor the people who send you this stuff on a regular basis? Do you mark them as Spam? If you do, does that block those people from sending actual real, personal emails? How is this different than looking at your Caller ID before answering your phone, and deciding whether or not to answer it? Please leave a comment–I’d love to know your thoughts. I promise I won’t consider them to be Spam!

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