One potentially delicate issue to deal with around election time is the barrage of spam that friends and family members send on various campaign issues. I get a ton of them at work, but I figure that’s part of the job. It’s more of an annoyance, though, when I have to wade through them in my personal email at home.
So far, I’ve dealt with this by just deleting them. I’ve known of some family members or friends who have written back to spammers and (not always politely) told them to quit spamming. I find the sociology of political spam kind of fascinating – sending sometimes extreme views via email to friends or family whose views you are not familiar with. Do spammers wonder if they’re offending the recipient? Do they care? Or do they hope the email changes the recipient’s view?
I’ve never been able to figure out the purpose of political spam. Or any spam, for that matter. I rarely, if ever, forward any of the thousands of emails – jokes, photos, scams, urban legends, news-that’s-not-really-true, cartoons, etc. – that clog the world’s servers. I never feel the urge to “send it on” to 20 friends or relatives. It seems like a better idea, if you’re going to take the time to attach so many names to an email, to just send a note instead and ask, “How are you?” To opt instead for some substantive social interaction.
I’ve always believed political views are very personal, and I can’t imagine sending email like buckshot to dozens of friends or family members whose beliefs I don’t know. Judging by the inbox, though, not everyone shares that feeling. Do most of you mind getting those emails? If it bothers you, how do you handle it?