Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chain, chain, chain; chain of love

This morning I found two chain e-letters sitting in my email in-box.

Each was sent by someone dear to me and each asks me to send the item on to others. Both convey powerful, worthy messages. In one case, the piece indicates that, by sending it on, I will help maintain vigilance against radical human cruelty, certainly an appeal that gets my attention.

But each creates a dilemma for me.

Back in the earlier days of the internet, I used to get lots of chain e-mails claiming to convey good luck. These emails would come from some friend or acquaintance, often apologizing while explaining that he or she really needed the promised luck. The letter would either offer good luck in portion to your forwarding behavior or threat bad luck for failure to forward – or both! I hated these things and tried to resist the superstitious compulsion they inspired.

Then a young friend, wise beyond her years, sent me a ‘chain letter to end all chain letters.’ It purported to be a talisman again bad luck arising from chain letters. It stated that, from that day forward, I was categorical protected from chain-letter-bad-luck and free to do anything I chose with email chain letter without fear of consequences. The letter itself said to feel free to forward the ‘chain letter to end all chain letters’ – or not; totally up to me.

Incredibly liberating!

After that, I would occasionally get a chain letter that offered something worth sharing. If I wanted to share it, first I would copy and paste what I liked, deleting all nonsense about how the sender should send it on to 1 person for 1 day of luck, 2 people for 2 days of luck – or whatever the gambit was.

But I digress, for neither of today’s missives appeals to my good/bad luck superstitions. Yet, as I said, each creates a dilemma for me.

I know a lot of people and I have lots of email addresses. But I cannot name even a handful I am confident will welcome these letters. I am sort of a ‘permission marketing’ type; if my audience hasn’t volunteered to BE my audience, I hesitate to foist a message. I guess because I am not happy to be asked to forward these items, I cannot imagine my contacts will be any happier. So, what to do?

Well, I am not going to forward the emails.

I’m going to do this. One of them has a medium length quotation worth sharing and I will post it on my Facebook where FB Friends can read it if they like, at their leisure and under no duress to pass it on.

The other – the one with the ‘vigilance against man inhumanity to man’ message I will check carefully for copyright issues and, if there are none, I will share it here sooner or later.

And what do you do with e-chain-letters?

No comments: