Sunday, July 06, 2008

Insult spam

For the past several weeks, my spam filter has been blocking emails I'm calling insult spam. The New York Times wrote about them in June, around the time I started receiving them.

(Oh, how wonderful it is to be an early adopter!)

Basically, these messages have a customized subject header that says things like: 'You look stupid mwaxman' or 'You look like a moron mwaxman'.

At first glance, I was taken aback. I mean who are these people to tell me I'm a moron?

But then I had to laugh at the the absurdity of the situation. I mean, here I was feeling bad about a silly comment from someone I don't know who's ostensibly trying to spread a virus or sell me something.

And I wondered, who in their right mind, would open an email like this?

On further reflection, I realized messages like these are aimed at our neuroses, in much the same way as so-called complimentary spam (notes that say things like, 'You look hot' or 'I noticed you across a crowded room').

Essentially, they're preying on our need to be liked.

And I think it's high time we started doing a better job of human-filtering; of seeing things for what they are and leaving our insecurities behind.

In a world where communications plays such an important part of our lives, we owe it to ourselves to develop and practice good critical judgement.

1 comment:

Janine said...

Tee hee! I get comments occasionally from someone called "You look hot today," but that person leaves me nice posts. :-)