It isn’t difficult to choose the worst of the top ten e-mail pet peeves. Winning first place has to be spam, that annoyance appropriately named for the horribly inedible canned meat served to GIs in World War II. People hated the greasy taste of Spam then, and hate the greasy characters who purvey the email version even more today in its indigestible internet form.
1. Spam: No matter how much we try to avoid internet Spam, our computers are daily assaulted by dozens of unwanted messages. They come as peevish e-mail and as onscreen ads. The purveyors of Spam keep evolving their evil methods, and by now, they’ve gone from just being annoying to downright inescapable.
2. Spam that blots out your page: When we try to read an article or do research on a legitimate news site, our desktop may first go black to be totally overlaid with a Spam video, or the unwanted message creeps across the page until it covers just enough to make the page unreadable.
3. Video spam: There’s also the obnoxious video ad that takes over your desktop when you research a website to look for a specific item, and you’re forced to watch the ad while you’re waiting for the page you requested to come up.
4. Super-spam: These are the phony notices to your e-mail address congratulating you for winning lots of money from crooks in such far-away parts of the world as Caribbean islands, Africa and Russia. The messages usually say you’ve won millions of dollars or an obscure uncle has died leaving you a fortune.
5. The too-obvious spam: The news that you’ve won oodles of money would be exciting, except anyone with any brains can immediately realize the messages are totally phony. The grammar of the e-mail message is usually written by an author who learned English from reading Chinese fortune cookies.
6. Aggressive charities: Of course, we’re all willing to donate to legitimate charitable causes. However, when our e-mail includes painfully sad photos of starving and disfigured kids, we don’t need such reminders to help.
7. Religious beggings: Many other charities, including those with questionable religious affiliations, solicit by making you feel guilty if you don’t send in lots of money. They also generously offer 25-cent religious doodads and booklets as your earthly reward for your heavenly contributions.
8. FW: An unwanted flood of e-mails come from friends with political axes to grind or some kind of social conscience they want to share with you. We already know Washington is full of incompetent politicians and crooked lobbyists.
9. Chain letters: The worst of the FW: are the old scams now evolved into cyberspace spams. They’re the e-mail chain letters, passed on from one idiot to another until they arrive in your e-mail. The phony letters promise good things will happen if you pass them on to the next sucker, but if you break the chain, you’ll meet with some terrible fate. Actually, the worst fate is trying to get people to stop sending you e-mail chain letters.
10. What we did on our vacation: As in the old days, you wouldn’t mind receiving one photo of Aunt Tillie and Uncle Max posing in front of the Eiffel Tower. Now that they’re traveling with their digital camera, your e-mail is inundated with scores of underexposed and out-of-focus photos they’ve shot from the moment they boarded the Air France flight until they flew the red-eye back to New York. Ain’t modern progress great? Not really.
Choosing the top 10 e-mail pet peeves is not a pleasant task. However, while you’re listing them, you may find some new ideas on how to keep them from loading down your computer.