I’m always surprised at how common letters like this one are:
Dear Amy: I agree with “Curious in California,” who doesn’t understand why people flood others with forwarded e-mail.
Every day I have to wade through jokes, alerts, political diatribes and chain letters from people who copied their entire address book.
I have ceased giving my e-mail address to some family members to avoid the inevitable deluge. I wish my husband would adopt the same practice.
He spends most evenings reading these items because he doesn’t have the heart to just delete them. Consequently, we hardly ever have a conversation beyond the dinner table. — Frustrated in Oregon
I don’t know….I just don’t really encounter this problem anymore….or if I do, I don’t notice it. Five or seven years ago, I remember getting tons of chain letters and forwards and giant animated religious and political messages….but people don’t forward this stuff to me anymore. Interestingly, I think it occurs more among my parents and people their age–my peers seem to have cooled off with this kind of thing.
Or, perhaps, they’ve just transferred their energies for mass distribution of jokes, pictures, etc. to Facebook, MySpace, etc.. That’s probably true….and I guess that’s not a bad thing, because it seems easier to ignore there. In the facebook world, it’s less that you’re sticking others with pictures, stories, jokes and messages they don’t want, and more that you’re posting it to your OWN area….it’s up to others to read if they want. That seems just, somehow, if only because when you post something really annoying, you have to look at it, too.
This is not to say that I get only personal emails directed specifically to me giving me information that I need/want. I delete 20+ emails a day, most of them from my school and sent to all students, containing information that doesn’t apply to me, or that I simply don’t have the time and energy to process.
It’s tempting for me to say to these folks who get so fed up with pointless emails that it’s just like junk mail! You don’t have to read it. A response is not expected (why DO people want the same poem they just sent you to be sent back to them, anyway?). It’s not personal–but that’s probably hard to grasp when the email comes in from your brother, aunt, cousin, or colleague because it clearly SEEMS personal.
It just makes me a little crazy that these people write in as if they are the only ones dealing with this situation. To me it seems comparable to saying “Every time I commute to my job during rush hour, traffic is terrible! This is so annoying! How do you recommend that I tell others not to use the road during my time? What can I do?”
Information overload is annoying, but everyone is dealing with it….so just….deal. Start to pay attention to who sends you funny stuff and who sends you annoying stuff and read or delete accordingly. Or block certain addresses from your inbox. Or go through all new messages and delete anything with a [Fwd] in front of it before you even start reading. Or ask your friend to remove you from her list. Or respond with really rude, angry messages to the people who send you junk. There are as many ways to deal with annoying emails as there are people. This is just a part of life now. The information superhighway is as crowded as I-90….so find a way to avoid it, accept it, or alter it.