Spamalot – it’s no joke

The internet is an amazing tool, but I reckon it’s making a lot of people lazy, a view that a Nobel laureate argued in an article this week headed Net dumbs us down: Nobel prize winner.

The amount of pointless “pass it on” spam that I get from what are usually pretty intelligent people rams home the point. Does anybody stop to think about what they’re doing before they hit forward? Are people that easily emotionally manipulated?

Whether it’s a missing kid, a knee-jerk religious campaign or a high-school science project, most of these emails (and nowadays super-wall messages on Facebook) are simply hoaxes that do nothing more than clog up the internet, slowing down bandwidth and wasting people’s time.

And it’s even more infuriating when the power of the internet is right at people’s fingertips – it doesn’t take long to Google a few key words from the email to identify if it’s a hoax.

Even better, two sites I recommend are devoted to stopping these time wasters. The next time you get a “forward this if you care” email, try heading to Truth or Fiction, or alternatively Break the Chain, and do a quick search. You’ll probably find that 99 per cent of forward emails are hoaxes, and you’ll be doing a lot of people a favour by checking first.

And for the record – the Evan Trembly kid started the email himself a few years ago and is not missing, the play about Jesus and his disciples being gay is not getting made into a movie and the email is ridiculously out of date (and that’s even before we start talking about how embarrassing the message of the email is), Microsoft do not want to give you money for forwarding emails and the school science project is probably a spam organisation trying to collect email addresses.

And while I’m at it – email petitions don’t work unless they’re connected to a dedicated website. Forwarded petitions don’t do anything. Don’t add your name and forward it. Delete it.

The only emails I bother forwarding these days are from Avaaz and GetUp, two organisations that have proven their worth – and that’s only when I agree with the particular issue they’re campaigning on.

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