Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Forwarders

I've always hoped that the Internet would be a Force for better Communication and Understanding. Instead it seems to be an Effing Facility for Forwarding Freaks.

I know these FWD: emails are intended to be inspirational, entertaining and informational. But they are clogging my In Box and slowing down the delivery of useful mail.

Just last night, I got one with seventeen (17) attachments, none of which opened in any reasonable time.

I got a PowerPoint slideshow of Great Pictures, complete with an audio track; Funny Commercials, Nostalgia pieces, on how everything was better when we were young. Those are common, and tend to recycle the email rounds.

I get forwards from people I don't know. I get forwards from acquaintances. My sister won't send me a personal email, but she regularly sends me forwards from work. Her firm's Internet policy forbids listening to Internet music because of bandwidth concerns, but she'll send fat PowerPoint files. I don't get it.

Here's a tip: almost all of this vital info is somewhere on the Web. Google it, and if it's so interesting, send the link to your victims recipients.

There are at least two kinds of Forwarders:
• There are those who ask if it's o.k. to forward you messages of interest.
• There are those who don't ask.
But they have something in common; whatever your answer, yes or no, they'll send them. The Forwarders are worse than proselytizing religious zealots. You can neither slam the door in their face, or politely get rid of them.

With religious proselytizers, you can say, "Gracias, pero no tengo interés. Que les vayan bien." and they go.

Fowarders don't get, "Do. Not. Send. Me. These. Forwards." They are compulsive in their behavior. Their mouse inexorably gravitates to the FWD To All: button. They will ALWAYS find some way to ignore what you'll tell them. I think that some get a sense of empowerment in that with a click of mouse, they can spam* everyone in their Contacts List.

*Most of the spam I receive is from people I know send announcements of local events. They either don't realize that they have me more than once on their contact lists and there are those who forward the orginals, to be sure I don't miss the event. So I get 4 or 5 emails with the same subject.

Some send political messages, of both Right and Left viewpoints, all of which presume I'm interested. I'm not. I'm the Don of Apathy.

I found this article on Responsible Forwarding, and it has some good advice. It reminded me of another reason that I dislike receiving gratuitous forwards: list after list of previous recipients' email addresses. Sometimes, my address is included in the CC:, which is Unforfriggiingiveable.

You are obliged to scroll on and on about who sent what to whom, ad nauseam. Somewhere, past all that unecessary dross, is a nugget of some Priceless Gem with which you have been blessed: "Coca-Cola Caps of the mid-20th Century", for example.

I have a big favor to ask.
Please copy this blog, and Forward it to everyone on your Contact List or Address Book. Your recipients will thank you. Mil gracias.

Don Cuevas

UPDATE: I just received an unsolicited file attachment of 958 kb, of a NY Times Digest. Right after I shot off a snappy reply, I noticed my email program struggling to intake some other wad of uselessness.
(Useless? Yes, as I can read the undigested Times on their website, and if I wanted to, I could probably read the digest form on my own.)

As I knew it would already by in the inbox of my Gmail account, I looked in there. The same person had sent it again with an "Oops, LOL!" that the previous wad had the wrong day in the subject line.

God save us.

I'm increasingly in favor of Internet training to obtain an operator's license.

And people who send me offensive "humor" FWDs are going on my Shit Buddy Reject List