You’ve seen them, in fact, if you’re at all like me then you probably see several of them a day.  All you need is to have one person who has your email address in their contact list who obligingly forwards everything that says “send this to everybody in your contact list” and you’re all set to receive as many as a dozen of these pieces of digital crap every week.

I think that over the years I’ve seen at least three variations of every “forward this” email that there is out there.  They generally take one of two tactics.

Either they’ll promise you the moon, a new car, a million dollars a new bell tv, five golden rings, instantaneous weight loss while eating a seven course turkey dinner every day and of course, a free ride straight to heaven when the time comes, God’s special favor and anything else you can think of.

The other side of that coin is the threat. “Don’t break this chain or … ” any number of evil things will befall you from your hair falling out to the IRS jumping down your throat feet first to sudden unexplainable death.

They use various forms of the guilt treatment.. “If you love God, you’ll send this on” or “If you’re not ashamed of Jesus, you’ll send this on”.  Etc, Etc. Etc. Ad nauseam.

Here’s the thing.  I do love God, I’m not ashamed of Jesus and I do fully agree with that prayer about our economy being healed, gas prices coming down, and finding a cure for cancer.  I hate the fact that children are abused or that people in this or that other country are living under XYZ form of repression and I do pray that they’ll be saved from that.  However, forwarding an email isn’t going to help one bit.

All that those thousands and thousands of forwarded emails accomplish is to A, burden the email systems of the world with absolutely useless traffic and B, allow somebody along the line to harvest the email addresses so that they can be used for spamming viagra advertisements.

So how about we all do the world a favor, the next time you get one of those emails that asks you to send it on to X number of people or everybody in your contacts or friends list.  Pray not only for the need presented in it if there is one, but also pray for the people who sent it on to you and to other as you quietly hit the delete key and save your friends a bunch of crap they don’t want anyway.

Technorati Tags: email, junk mail, address harvesting, forwarded email, overloaded mail systems

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