Friends Found To Be Greatest Source of Spam


Bill Gates at age 30 - from the 1985 release of Windows 1.0

If that title sounds like a headline from The Onion, it may be because I did pick up a print issue of The Onion in Washington, DC when I was visiting my son. It's entertaining to just read The Onion's headlines: JPMorgan Chase Acquires Bear Stearns In Tedious-To-Read News Article, Peeping Tom Sick And Tired Of Watching People Watch Television, New Nietzschean Diet Lets You Eat Whatever You Fear Most, Al Gore Caught Warming Globe To Increase Box Office Profits.

This might seem like the kind of post you email friends. Yeah, we all get these "well-intentioned" passed-along mails. But they're filling up the inbox and tempting us to click the spam, block or junk mail button on our buddies. In the hope of preserving friendships, I'm offering a few tips for this week of or after spring break.

1. Before you send out that incredible offer, virus alert or how aspartame will kill me, at least check it out at They pick up on most of the junk being passed around and determine if it's true or false. Like that national do not email me registry thing you sent me? False. And old (from 2004)

2. Remember back in the those heady pre-Net days when people photocopied a funny 'toon and passed it on until the version you saw had dust and copy surface scratches that were magnified 100 times? Well, forwarded copies are perfect copies. Almost. Tip: don't send me a forwarded mail inside a forwarded mail inside a forwarded mail... Copy the funny part & create a new mail. I might even think that you came up with it yourself. (No, not really)

3. When forwarding, get rid of the >>> stuff.

4. Do you know what the bcc line is for? Blind copies. Please don't add my email to a list of 25 other friends in the header, because that mail is gong to get passed around a few more times and some spammer is going to harvest all those addresses. Put us all in the bcc line. I might even think you sent it just to me. (No, not really)

5. If the attachment is really that good, remember to actually attach it.

6. Remember that just because the image or attachment is on the mail you received, that doesn't mean the one you are sending automatically has it all. (see #5)

7. Let the mail you want to forward sit in your inbox for 24 hours before forwarding. As with angry responses, phone calls when you are drunk and quickly hitting "reply all" when you get that very critical mail from your co-worker or boss - sleep on it. It usually looks different the next day.


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