So I just got spammed another round. It's sort of strange to get these emails with apparently word-generator-created subject lines that make no human sense. And while I haven't opened one of these in ages, the contents never seemed to make any sort of rational sense either. I have wondered why people would generate these, or if this is just some sort of scripting run wild (sort of like virus strands). The only thrill seems to be the "made ya look" variety. My email filters work overtime sorting the spam from the real stuff.
This morning, I read the news online and saw an article about how a third of Americans apparently can't tell the difference between an authentic email and a phishing scheme. These have never quite connected with me. I've never felt any need to help anyone move fake money into the US. And I've never experienced any banking institution email me (except for a recent case related to the purchase of a property---but I contacted the bank first and when the private documents came, it was very clearly authentic and had information only my bank would know). And financial institutions would have no reason to contact me directly especially since I had no account with them. It's puzzling why people would get caught up in this. Maybe I also junk quite a few emails the way I do unsolicited mail.
As an instructor, I get all sorts of emails from students. As a person in the community, I get emails from strangers related to my volunteerism roles and publishing. I just got an email recently from an unknown student about some old poems that were published a long time ago and that I sort of assumed people had stopped reading. He wanted to know about the initials of the people I'd written romantic poems to. I responded a little tetchily about my privacy, and he responded with a polite message back for overstepping his bounds of inquiry as a stranger. FERPA keeps me from speaking to spouses or parents of learners. And I do my best not to send personal information by email anyway---for my protection and that of my students.
While acknowledgment and "closing the feedback loop" emails can be very sweet, I'm finding that time crunches make it so that emails have to add new intelligence. I have to learn something in a new message or at least get a new sense of direction on a project or get verification about a query to feel like time has been used well.
While I'm not dumb enough to solicit spamming or to issue any challenges to those who create these no-new-intelligence emails, I will put it out there that I wish they'd stop wasting people's time and email space. There's so much else that's engaging and worthwhile that's not footnote embed, anthem and meatball.