So, in a tiny debate with a friend over an email this morning, I now have a topic to blog about today: My e-mail rules. I am not your average "forward everything that comes into my mailbox" kind of gal. There are certain things I look for in emails to forward, such as content, humor, reality etc. Let's explore these a little bit.
Humor: If it makes me laugh, I forward it to a group I have within my email called "Anything Goes". Unless of course, I have seen that particular email a kabillion times, because if I had, then chances are, I have already forwarded that email onto my cyber buddies as well. There are very rare occasions where I do forward something particularly funny that I have probably forwarded once a long time ago. If it makes me laugh a second time, it's worth sending on again. You never know who may need that laugh today.
Reality: I love a good true story, however, I don't believe that everything that comes into my mailbox marked "True!" is really true, because often it is not. For example. how many of you have gotten the email about the missing Penny Brown which includes an adorable picture of a little girl with auburn hair? Penny is not missing...and has never been missing, but I cannot begin to tell you how many times this email has shown up in my box. I am a big fan of Snopes.com and I use it to check any email that I get that might be in question before I send it on to another couple of dozen people. There are several other websites out there similar to Snopes or just pop the title of the email in question into Google and see what happens. Though I am not cynical about most things, I hate to have my heartstrings tugged on, pulled on, yanked on, beaten on etc for things that are just not real. I also have what is probably an annoying habit of responding to all people who were cc'd on that email to let them know it is a hoax so that hopefully they will not spread the insanity any further.
If I find out a "true" story is indeed true, I try to make a point of typing that in the email before I forward it as well.
Content: I try really, really hard not to offend anyone with an email. I have a few friends who are not Christian, so I try very hard to not send them emails with that kind of content, and for the most part, they, in turn, treat me with the same respect. In other words, I won't send you emails about Jesus if you don't send me stuff about Buddah or a goddess, etc. We all have our beliefs and where I don't generally find anyone else's beliefs offensive, (unless they are really and truly offensive, such as the KKK etc) I am very happy where I am and I'm sure these people are too.
On the subject of content, I never, ever forward an email because it tells me to. You know the ones; forward this to 4,458,698 people in the next ten seconds or your hair will grow into 7 ponytails on the top of your head (oops, sorry, that's Sanjaya, isn't it?) by midnight. I'm not a believer in luck, such as "If you don't forward this, bad luck will fall upon you...", nor a believer in "if you do forward this, your phone will ring with the best news of your life". I know that when I forward an email to ten people, something "totally neat" is not going to happen on my screen, nor is Bill Gates, Disney or anyone else going to send me a check. Now, ya'll know it too. NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
I will, at times, forward emails that tell me to forward it, but only because I like the content of the email. 'nuff said.
I also do not forward things because I agree with every single statement made in the email. If I do by chance, agree with every single statement in the email, I will probably write a little message in my forward that says something like "I agree with every single statement in this email." Sometimes, I just like what something says, what someone did, or I am reveling in the fact that for the first time in six months an actual true story landed in my inbox. Again, when I forward something, my intention is never to offend, but let's be realistic, some people are offended by things that no one else would think they would be and that is no one's fault; not theirs and not the sender. I think we all do our best with this complex thing called the internet and let's face it, between friends, no one is intentionally trying to offend.
Incidentally, let me say that the person who gave me the idea for this blog today has not upset me at all. The discussion just led me to think about emails in general and like reporters, we should often check out our sources before hitting "forward."
While we're discussing the internet, how about those internet friendships? Aren't they complex? I have made some fantabulous friends over the computer and have chatted with folks not just in the USA but in Brazil, Mexico and England (I even married that one ). But who are these people really and what are the rules? If you start to drift apart from a friend in real life, if you like that person, you would take the time to chat with him or her to find out what is going on. Is the same true for the internet? Do we have the same kind of "Rights" when it comes to internet friendships? If you start to grow apart from an internet friend, can you still write and say "What happened?" or is that crossing a line into insanity?
Would love to hear some thoughts on this, so please comment!