Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hoaxes and rumors

Why is it that people can take several minutes to forward a rumor, but they can’t take 2-3 minutes looking it up FIRST to see if it’s true? Why is it that people get ticked off when someone who does take the time to look them up let them know that it’s a hoax? Surely some of the hoaxes and rumors being forwarded over and over again have ended up in their in-box at one time or another. How tough is it to go to, click Search, and enter a couple of words regarding the rumor???

I’m amazed at the number of times I’ve received the same information from the same people on more than one occasion. I’m amazed at how many times I’ve taken the time to look up the rumor and send them back the link with the information, only to receive the same information 2-3 months down the road from them. I’m amazed that they then get an attitude with me when sending out other things – such as “I don’t have time to look this up but I wanted to warn you all” or “I don’t care if this is true or not so I’m sending it anyway.” Without being rude right back, how do I stop from receiving these things? I’ve tried to nicely indicate I get so many emails that I’d rather not receive their dire warnings, but I still get them. The only things I’m interested in receiving are emails that have been checked out and proven to be accurate.

I don’t want to know that AOL and Microsoft are going to pay me to forward emails. I don’t want to see hokey signature strings that say, “I didn’t believe it until I got my check in the mail.” Show me the check instead. I don’t want to read stuff that says to forward to 10 of my friends and I’ll see something totally amazing on my screen. The only thing I might see is the reflection of a stupid person – me – if I fall for it. I don’t want to know that my cell phone number is being sold or that the atheists are trying to get Christian broadcasting off the airwaves. I’m sure that atheists somewhere are always trying to do something that would inhibit Christian rights, but the proposition mentioned in these emails is bogus – in fact, when Touched by an Angel was on TV the same email circulated about petition 2493 trying to get it off the air. I don’t want to know about spiders under toilet seats, HIV-infected needles in telephone change receptacles, Time Warner and AOL joining forces and paying people to forward emails (AOL seems to be in a lot of these emails; wonder how they stay in business paying out so much money to forward emails. LOL), I don’t need to lock my car manually to keep crooks from getting the code (they can’t), I won’t get gift certificates for forwarding emails from Old Navy, GAP, Coca-Cola, Victoria’s Secret, or Applebees, IBM isn’t giving away free computers, Gerber isn’t giving away free savings bonds, there’s no email tracker system, and a host of other things that keep circulating over and over again.

I have several family members who now ask me about rumors before they forward them. That’s good. I don’t mind looking them up. I’ve been fooled a time or two but not very often. The things that get me the most are the photographs. Now, if I send any of those out it’s with a disclaimer that they’re probably altered but the finished product is very cool looking. Until the photo is proven to be truth, I figure it’s altered. There are a lot of very talented people out there who can do wonders with photo editing tools.

Say I got an email telling me about how John Wayne became a Christian. I can type in about 10 seconds. It takes another 5 seconds to type two words from the email. I’ll use “john wayne” (not even capitalized) and get five responses – with the #1 response being the one I wanted. By the way, it’s fiction, too. If I’m afraid I won’t remember the Web address, I could save it as a bookmark. Now, that would be a smart move.

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