Between email, forums, chats, and all the other methods of communication available today, we are inundated with words. Okay, I’m inundated. Overwhelmed. Frustrated.
Over 10 years ago when just enough people were online and had email, the need to spread jokes and idiot babble via email started. Eventually, email spam got into the act. At one time, I had over 1000 emails coming into my inbox every day. It was completely overwhelming.
I started making rules for all friends, family, and co-workers on what they could and could not email us. It took some time, but for the most part, it worked. Really well. Email spam filters improved, which knocked down a lot of the junk, and well-meaning friends got the hint when their email inboxes started overflowing, too.
If you are a joke email forwarder, stop. Please stop. For everyone’s sake. If you believe that your life will come to a pitiful and horrible end because you didn’t forward that hopeful, inspirational, and funny email to 20 people within those precious 10 seconds, then I can’t help you. But this could answer my question about the people in the demographics of those who keep buying the newspaper rags that spout “New Jersey Attacked By Killer Octopus”.
There is a very bad side effect to being the sender and forwarder of jokes and junk emails. If I’m used to getting a lot of joke emails from you, and I’m in the habit of deleting them because I don’t have time to read the same joke 18 times from 12 different people over 10 years (people forget and resend the same jokes – ARGGH!), what do you think I will do if you send me a real, legit email? Huh?
I call this playing “email wolf”. If you cry wolf long enough, and there is no wolf, how we will ever believe you when you cry wolf and there is a wolf? Think about it.
I was presenting a program recently and was asked about how to say “no” to all that junk email from well-intentioned folks. We all hate it, but how do you put a stop to it?
Putting a Stop to Junk and Jokes in Your Email Inbox: My Stop Junk Email Form Letter
The following is a copy of a “form letter” I send out to everyone. Especially when the level of jokes and junk email rises, which it’s done again recently. I’ve perfected it over the years and it works. Typically, they send back a relieved “thank you” and request to use it themselves. Even those who perpetuate the junk email that litters the Internet bandwidth hate it.
Here is my form letter, and you are welcome to use it, just personalize it for your own needs:
As a reminder, because we travel so much and are often struggling to find an Internet connection, we ask you to respect the following when sending email to us:
1. Unless you warn us in advance, and per our permission, do not send any files or emails larger than 50K.
2. Do not put us on any joke or email forwarding lists.
3. If you find a joke that you know we will personally adore, that suits our lifestyle, life, and sense of humor, please send it. We all need a good laugh. However, we’ve been on the Internet for over 10 years and we’ve read just about all the jokes, stories, and chain letters at least 6 times. Don’t send it.
4. All PPS, MPEG, and huge graphic and picture files emailed to us without advance permission and which do not pertain to our work will be deleted without reading or viewing.
5. If the email, joke or otherwise, says the following: “Send this immediately to 10 people or else”, it will be deleted immediately and never forwarded.
6. Our email spam and virus filters are very strong. Anything with swear words, sex words, advertising, or suspicious files will be deleted before we ever see it. Careful what you say!
7. We get 50-200 emails a day, and that’s not counting spam. It can take us a while to get through all of it, especially if we’ve been away and/or traveling. Be patient. And if you need a response immediately, and don’t get one, call us or email me again to make sure I see it and to make sure it got through the filters, just in case.
8. This is not a personal attack. We send this to everyone, and have for over 10 years.
9. As for us sending you jokes, pictures, cartoons, graphics, movies, and such, we don’t. We have THAT much respect for you. That is unless we know that this will have you falling on the floor laughing your ass off with tears running down your face in hysterics. Then we will send it. We have THAT much respect for you, and your sense of humor.
10. And for those of you who have seen this email 3 or 5 times, we apologize for our redundancy. What goes around comes around over and over and over and over and over…
This won’t stop those determined to send you jokes and junk. Don’t waste your time with them and don’t respond. Just delete them. Wait a while, and then try a slightly harder tact, explaining how inundated you are and that is interfering with your work and life. They might finally get the hint.
There will always be those who just won’t get it. At least you’ve culled the pack of junk and joke meals down to a respectable number, so you can handle the ones that don’t think you are talking to them.
I hope this helps, if not completely stops all those junk emails.
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network