Crazy E-mail forwards

Working for an Internet company for the past 8 years, I realize my awareness on the subject might be heightened a little more than the average computer user. That being said, it still drives me abosolutely crazy when people forward me these stupidly insane messages that they get all hyped up and upset over, without even checking to see if its real or someone’s imagination run-a-muck.

“I read it in an e-mail, so it must be true?” – is this where our society is now?

Usually headed by remarks like: “I’m never buying at “X” store again!” or “You won’t believe what Politican “Y” is involved in!” or even more “So-in-so’s wife did this”

Its amazing to me how quick people take on strong opinions on matters they know so close to nothing about. All the sudden they have a stand in the issue because of someone else sent out a false, or even worse, a patially true statement that has been twisted far beyond the original meaning or happening. A statement who’s only purpose is to fling mud, insight riots, and negative thoughts and actions. Aren’t we all tired of this? Don’t we already get our surpassed quota of negativity in any given day? hour for that matter?

The other thing I realize is how completely gullible and naive we can be as a society when it comes to seeing a statement in print. Written word seems to have this power of persuasion over so many. “Someone typed it up,… looks official, so it must be true!”

There is an individual that sends me the most stupid e-mails. All tend to be discriminatory, hate-inspiring crap! They don’t realize that they are just spreading more untruth, and more negativity in the world. The sad thing is, even if I tried to explain it to them, I still don’t think they’d get it. So maybe I should just consider the source and block their e-mail address..

I beg everyone to be conscientious when you forward a message. In fact, I challenge everyone to really think before you forward anything. Ask yourself a few questions..

#1. What is the purpose of this e-mail? Is it to actually educate, or is it based on mud slinging propaganda? Is the message of the e-mail politically/racially/discrimnatory charged? Does it cater to more gossip and rumor type of things?  Take this into consideration – there is far too much negativity out in the world as it is. If its not something valid, or even if the only reason you want to forward it is because it is attached to a cute poem.. feel free to delete the garbage and only send the poem! Your friends will be appreciative.

#2. Is it true? Can it be verified by a valid source, or even better – a couple of valid sources? And I believe this “valid source” should be more than just some extremist’s website. I will remind you, any idiot can register a domain name and put up a page. If that wasn’t the case, then we’d have far less websites online. The Internet is not censored, nor does it have any regulated guidelines, so Yay! for free speech! However keep in mind that it is what it is… free speech, meaning that anyone can say anything they want pretty much, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is true. 

Also consider the idea that a statement may have been totally taken out of context. This happens quite a lot. How many times have you said something only to have a loved one take it totally the wrong way? This happens to all of us. Even those with bright lights and camera’s constantly in their faces.  I really believe that even e-mails that are mostly true, can be as damaging (if not more) than those that are totally false, so be thoughtful when you forward an e-mail on.