Diamonds In The Spam

Virginia Bola, PsyD

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There are those who turn apoplectic at the receipt of unsolicited commercial email, commonly dubbed spam. These are the same people who receive hundreds of bulk letters addressed to “Occupant" without batting an eye.

Getting rid of unwanted mail means sorting through the stack to pull out the important pieces and then dumping the remainder in the trash bin. The garbage piles up in landfills and ocean dumping grounds while the trees continue to fall to produce more and more paper.

Electronic mail can be quickly scanned and then deleted, disappearing forever into cyberspace, causing no pollution or build-up, and requiring no consumption of non-renewable resources.

My inbox is my conduit to the world, scanned daily with eager eyes for those unexpected morsels that appear out of nowhere. I have found delightful offers, developed new areas of interest, and have followed seductive links to websites that have become perennial favorites - all because of unsolicited messages.

My response is that, barring blatantly *** ographic material, I like spam, and I hope it keeps coming. Unfortunately, those who feel the purity of the Internet has somehow been violated, have led to a cyber world where everything requires confirmation, double or triple opt-in lists, bouncing of incoming messages by non-intelligent filters, and evokes multiple complaints to ISPs who are forced to investigate and respond.

The Internet is so wonderful because it is highly resistant to the urge for co-option by the government, large corporations, and the rich and powerful. It is the great leveler where even the most humble can connect to the world.

Let's fight to keep it that way, even if it means 30 minutes of our precious daily time is spent deleting unwanted messages.

Virginia Bola is a licensed clinical psychologist with deep interests in Social Psychology and politics. She has performed therapeutic services for more than 20 years and has studied the effects of cultural forces and employment on the individual. The author of two interactive workbooks: The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual and Diet With An Attitude: A Weight Loss Workbook, she also issues a monthly ezine, The Worker's Edge, and various mini-courses on weight control, she can be reached at her Social Psych Blog as well as at her weight control information site


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