As the accessibility of technology grows, so does our reliance on using it as a means for communication, especially where doing so via word of mouth is either more difficult and/or less feasible. In particular, where we once relied on the use of telephones and hand written letters to communicate the most basic or complex thoughts, these very ideas can now be communicated instantly via emails, text messages, and/or blogs which are but a few of the resources available. Due to the ease and accessibility of such technology, the time consuming process of timing our phone calls and organizing our thoughts via pen and paper as a primary means of communication are but a distant memory.
However, with these communication skills comes an unwelcome element of unsolicited and counterproductive aftermath. The form of communication to which I am referring comes in the shape of annoying, intrusive and unnecessary appearances. Most of us refer to these irritating findings as… you got it… SPAM!
SPAM is essentially any form of electronic communication, which enters our “inbox” as a message from something or someone else that has the best interest of the other party at heart, or is used to damage our communication devices. Examples include the promotional text messages that we may receive from a department store that encourages the use of their products even though we have never made an inquiry about them or their merchandise. This can also be seen in the messages from a person who we do not know who offers an inviting incentive that may be appealing to us in exchange for something that they want from us. Probably most annoying, is the email that is sent by an address that is similar to someone that you know which holds a link that will give your computer a virus if you open it. Due to the frustration associated with SPAM, we go to great extremes to try as much as possible to avoid these annoying elements. Most blogs have a spam blocker that can be downloaded from the blog provider. Email providers have a separate section for SPAM that is usually provided in conjunction with the email service. Nonetheless, no matter how much effort is implemented to prevent SPAM from disrupting our electronic communications, it still manages to make its evil presence.
If you’re like me, SPAM is one of the most annoying components of electronic communications. As a result, I view emptying my SPAM as a chore and allow it to accumulate thereby forcing me to delete it all in large quantities. Recently, I found myself deleting an excess of 1,000 SPAM emails at one time. Of course I would get the email service that only allows for 20 emails to be deleted at a time, so instead of looking at this assignment as pure torture, I began to think of any lessons that could be learned from SPAM. Surprisingly here is what I found:
Some people are just as bad as SPAM and deserve the same responses from us. Like SPAM you will often encounter people in your life who bring you no good. This might come in the form of an unsupportive partner, a pessimistic caregiver, or a teacher who lacks compassion towards your educational growth. When it comes to e-mails many of us can easily identify SPAM and simply delete it from our lives. But when it comes to people, often times we allow those people to enter our lives and leave a huge impression that adversely affects us. We often never delete them from our lives or don’t do so until they have caused so much damage that we undergo serious discomfort. Why not find our SPAM detector and delete counterproductive people from our lives in the same way we do from our electronic communications?
Some people can detour you from your goals in much the same way as SPAM. Like SPAM, many people will enter your life, with a completely different view of how we should live our lives, and try to persuade you towards their direction. Many of us have allowed overbearing family members and friends to be critical of our lifelong goals, values, and relationships. We allow relationships with these people to prevail but we wouldn’t think twice about supporting an email campaign against an issue that interferes with our perspective. If we are so quick to identify this when it comes to electronic SPAM, I beg to ask the question, why is this so difficult when it comes to human SPAM?
People will try to pitch you a story even if it will bring you no good. Sounds like SPAM to me. Most people create SPAM because they want to sell you something… clothing, food, loans. Whatever it is, they create it with the intent of finding someone who is gullible enough to fall for their incentive and take them up on their offer. Many people in our everyday lives also do the same. People will say all kind of things to us for the purposes of selling their stories. While the electronic world refers to it as SPAM, in the “real world” it would be referred to as “lying/manipulation/control” etc. It would be easy to identify this SPAM in the electronic world. In real life we have a hard time identifying these communication patterns, and an even harder time “deleting it from our inbox.” We need to determine why this is so and what we can do about it.
Be careful who and what you delete. While it is clear that most SPAM is not good for you, you have to be careful when deleting it because every once in a while something meaningful and important can be found in your SPAM. Have you ever been deleting your e-mail SPAM in a hurry and you accidentally deleted something that wasn’t SPAM? Well this can happen in your everyday life as well. If we rush through life deleting any and everything that seems out of place, we may miss important people and life lessons. Thus, deletions should be done with caution and with an open heart and perspective.
Until now, SPAM has probably been considered a nuisance and the process of organizing it as a waste of time for your life. My hope is that you may begin the process of making the connection between SPAM and people and situations in your life. The connection is very real and powerful so good luck making the best of understanding it both as it relates to your use of technology and your personal life. Happy SPAMMING!