Friday, February 25, 2011

Conspiracy theories coming soon to your inbox...

I have a diverse group of friends and family members.  I know them all very well, and I'm a big believer in "know your audience", so I rarely send forwards or group emails, and if I do I copy and paste and send the info only to the people I am pretty confident will appreciate the content.  Apparently, none of my family or friends takes this into consideration before tacking my email address onto whatever junk mail comes their way that they feel the just HAVE to share with me.  It is no secret that I am a liberal, I do not enjoy racist or homophobic content, and I lack an appreciation of emails from God (I just don't think an omnipotent being is going to be logging onto hotmail to send out His or Her meeting minutes.)  Everyone knows this, yet I get these types of emails all the time.  Let me elaborate....

During the election, and now since, I have received much hate filled rhetoric via email.  Hatred of Muslims, African Americans, you name it.  Some of it very poorly disguised as "concern" for our country, although the reasons cited were more often than not made up, unfounded allegations.  This always annoyed me because I look up info before I send it out to verify it's validity.  Apparently I'm friends with a lot of folks who do not feel the need to verify stuff before they buy it.  They'll believe anything you tell them if you are loud and angry enough about it.  I'd call these folks out on so many of these emails, and yet they keep on sending them.  Why?!  I never send them emails trying to convince them to do research and learn what is really going on for themselves.  I don't send out anti-racism or anti-homophobe or anti-hate emails to them.  They don't want to hear it.  KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE, people.

I always get those hoax emails, too.  It's so easy to verify if that is indeed a missing person, or if there are people really spraying you down with poison when you are walking to your car... Hello, everyone, I'd like you to meet "Google".  Please type a few words describing the subject of a questionable email and see if snopes comes up verifying whether or not it is true information before you send it to everyone you've ever spoken 3 words to in your lifetime.  You could go directly to snopes, but I didn't want to be making things too difficult for folks, and I figured most email users should be capable of doing a Google search.  Maybe I have too much confidence in the abilities of chronic forwarders, though. 

One of my biggest email pet peeves is the people who send out trash disguised as a news story.  Fox News is the absolute worst.  (To see how I really feel, I could point you in the direction of the picture of me in NYC outside Fox News, flipping it the bird.  That pic was for my dear friend, and fellow human repulsed by Fox News, Dalia.  She was staying with relatives who had it running on the tv 24/7.  I would have moved out to my car at that point.  She's much stronger than I.)  But, my father-in-law is always sending these "conspiracy theory" emails as I call them to me from Fox or other uber conservative news sources.  One was trying to blame Obama and his cabinet for trying to ban hot dogs.  When really, it was a board of pediatricians wanting to put a warning to cut the hotdogs lengthwise, and not just into circles because they are a huge culprit when it comes to children choking to death.  The most disturbing thing about his sheer anger at the idea of a warning was that his own nephew, who is an EMT, was JUST telling us earlier that week how he was called out to a child choking on a hot dog.  He told us how horrific the scene was, and he was having trouble getting over it.  It was haunting him.  Oh, but you stick Obama's name on it and let the damn children fend for themselves!  Learn to chew your hot dogs, 1 year olds!  What's your problem?!  Ugh. 

So, two days ago, I get this news article for him.  I immediately rolled my eyes, just imagining what ridiculous info I was about to read.  Even in the title, right up front, it said that what they were about to discuss "May" be happening.  MAY!  Basically "We made this shit up, but there is a chance it could happen."  Then in the article itself it mentioned several times that there was no evidence that anything shady was going on.  It was aimed at Google.  It also pointed out that what they were saying was possible would be extremely difficult, even really close to impossible to do.  It's like, sure I CAN go to the moon, but it would be so difficult for me to do that so I will not be going.  Therefore, folks, it's not even worth discussing.  But somehow, this person wrote this article, trying to freak people out about something that wasn't proven to be happening or even likely to be happening.  What a waste of time.  The only purpose of "news" like this is to get people worked up about nothing.  I hate it.  He loves it.  I have told him I don't like it, and yet they keep coming.  The most hysterical part about this email warning of a security issue online is that my husband's line of business is INFORMATION SECURITY.  His own son is a security techie!  Thanks for preaching to the choir.

So, now that I got that off my chest, a little public service announcement:  You are not required to send out every forward, every "news" article, or every bad, tasteless joke to every email contact that you have.  You can pick and choose who it goes out to.  Take the time to click on the emails individually.  It's not like you're really thinking of these people you're sending these emails to.  They are impersonal and you obviously aren't thinking of the individual people you're emailing because you are clearly not considering if they would appreciate the content.  One more time, with feeling : Know your audience!!

Thank you to my sister for suggesting this post topic today.  I was trying to avoid offending people, although it brings me back to my point that the senders of these emails are not concerned with offending me.  So there you have it!

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