Wednesday, March 16, 2011

FW: FW: FW: FW You have mail – JUNK mail

Yay! I have mail! Oh no... it’s just junk mail :(

E-mail has become – in some ways – such an impersonal form of communication. How many people still take the time to write in their own words, speaking from the heart, rather than just merely forwarding items? Some people set up mialing lists to which items are forwarded routinely. After a while they don’t even know who is on the list anymore, they just select the list and send. Most of the time they don’t even note why they thought it was worth forwarding. That would have added at least something personal, if you ask me.

Have you ever received e-mails of which the content seems to be spiritual and in the end it says that you have to forward it to X amount of people if you want the good fortune or blessing to manifest in your life or circumstance? As if sending it after ten minutes, or not at all would cause you to be cursed? I used to feel a false sense of obligation to forward it but then I changed my mind. Then, however, if I pressed the delete button I felt guilty, as if I was a bad person. But I decided to ignore that. I don’t believe in luck anyway.

Then I’ve received those mails saying that if you forward the e-mail for some child that is sick or in need of an operation a certain company will donate a certain amount for every time the mail is forwarded. I still to this day don’t know how true that is, but I have heard that tracking in that way was not possible and that it was not true. How true (or not) that is I can’t vouch for. However, on some of these I’ve seen closing sentences that have seemed like a threat, almost as if you were not forwarding it, something just as bad, or even worse might happen to you. At times I have felt so angry at the emotional manipulation that I’ve seen. Do you really think that you can demand someone’s kindness or co-operation towards your cause? At times I have deleted these precisely for this reason thinking, “No one threatens me!”

Many times I receive some interesting information and notifications in the e-mail. I enjoy reading through them and sometimes I forward them, but I can’t help but wonder how true it is. I think we live in a time where people can suck just about anything from their thumbs and there will be those who swear by it like gospel. Also, those who find it amusing to create fake letters, notifications or publish so called facts on relevant topics and you just can’t be sure whether it is really sent by the traffic department, the hospitals, the ministers, etc... It is similar to the spam e-mails that you receive from the bank – YEAH RIGHT – that require your personal details but it is actually fraudulant thieves. Does anyone still actually believe that – or even bother to open it and wonder anymore? I suppose it still happening every day makes the answer to my question a yes. People are simply that gullible.

Then, of course, there’s the so called ‘testimonies’ of how you can make a million without lifting so much as 8 fingers – you see, you need at least two to forward the letter to everybody you know. Or those all time famous ones of having won millions in a lottery of which you’ve never heard of or for which you’ve never bought a ticket! Or that distant relative that passed away and left you his whole estate with instructions of how to claim your inheritance. If only it was that simple...

On a positive note, however, I have to add that I simply love the forwarded mails with beautiful photographs. Those I share with people that I know share my love for photography or nature or beautiful things – depending on the topic of the pictures – and I keep them in a folder to look at again later. Wanting to learn more about photography myself, I also sometimes look at those to see what I can do better or different. It helps me look at objects differently and sometimes it inspires me to take a picture of something I would otherwise not even have thought to aim a camera lens at.

Even then – most of the time – I write a short little note of my own thoughts before hitting the ‘send’ button.

One more thing that have changed the way I view junkmail is to consider the time that it will be taking up for the recipient to view it. Was it relevant or important enough for them to view, or would you rob them of a valuable resource: time. Time that should maybe be spent on something else more worthwhile instead... (especially if someone’s only access to e-mail is in a work place.)

Simply forwarding mail in this impersonal manner does not make me feel special because the thought of me has crossed someone’s mind. It’s become a bit of a cliche of sorts. A real pity, I’d say. What do you say?


  1. I seldom open mail that has FW in the subject line. I get an average of 300 mails a day and just don't have the time for frivolous ones. Maybe I am missing out on a lot?


  2. That's a lot of mail. If you had to look through all the frivolous ones you wouldn't have time to prepare your wonderful dishes or blog about them, let alone much else. No, I don't think you're missing too much, except if those lottery winnings or rich relatives in the UK were really true... :)