…would be punishable by Slow Dial-Up.
We’d all agree that spam is an annoying nuisance â€”a pesky swarm of e-mosquitoes dive-bombing our in-boxes. We all hate it so much that we would never knowingly forward spam to our friends. Right?
Several times a week, I get what I call â€œsuperstitious spam emailsâ€ from friendsâ€”the 21st Century version of chain letters. You know the kind: Read this little prayer, ditty, cute pics with captions, and forward it to fill-in-the-number of your friends. When you do, youâ€™ll receive some fabulous good luck.
Does the sender really think that by simply forwarding an email to several friends theyâ€™ve somehow garnered special dispensation from the email fairies? Iâ€™d guess thatâ€™s 25% of the reason. The other 75%? The emailâ€™s threat of bad luck if it’s not forwarded.
The one in my in-box this morning gave this dire example of what might befall me by not forwarding: â€œWhen the President of Argentina received this letter and called it “junk mail”, 8 days later his son died.â€ Iâ€™d venture to say that it wasnâ€™t the emailâ€™s power that killed the son, but rather the fatherâ€™s corrupt dealings.
Rationally, we all know that. So why do some of us feel compelled to forward these emails anyway? A quick revisit to our Psych-101 class provides the answer. When faced with the choice between pain or pleasure, the majority of people (and animals) will choose to avoid pain. These email chain letters are a poignant case in point: We would rather chance annoying our friends than risk the implied bad luck.
Amazing, isnâ€™t it?