The Pervasion Of Spam

It’s worth thinking about, just how much spam is floating around the Internet these days.  With the threat of various malevolent software attacks, it’s probable that half of what you come across has ties (direct or indirect) to viruses or worms.  However, a lot of stuff is just there so that someone can try to draw attention to themselves or to something that they’re trying to push – albeit very sloppily.

Most email systems have had spam filters for several years now, in order to help people to avoid sifting through all the unwanted emails that are sent out like a net to see what can be reeled in.  However, that’s not the only place you’ll see spam.  Odds are, if you have a blog of your own, you have to cope with spam comments, too.

Even social media sites like Twitter and Facebook aren’t immune, though on Facebook it comes more in the form of friend requests from people you’ve never met and who may not even exist.  That brings home the problem with spam, though:  It’s not the fact that it’s everywhere that’s the problem, it’s the fact that even the most benign examples aren’t actually out to help you with anything.  Instead, they’re there because someone wants something from you.

And so they go around, like thousands of barnacles drifting through the currents of the Internet, attaching to whatever seems a likely way to make a buck or just sending out runners to whomever they’ve gotten a little contact information on – sometimes purely by accident, even.  That’s why it appears in such large quantities all over the place.

Everyone knows spam is annoying, and most people don’t even bother to check it out when it comes up.  It just gets deleted, because we already know that it’s not worth our time to look at it.  This pervasiveness is a good demonstration of what’s so wrong with it.  It’s taking up space to try to steal your attention, bandwidth that could be better used for just about anything because the attention sought isn’t gained.

Which really begs the question: why do people bother cranking out so much spam, since most people are only going to trash it as soon as they get it?  Largely, it’s because not everyone does.  Spam has been proven to be a fairly effective marketing strategy, as long as the ads can come up with interesting subject lines.  Unfortunately, that means it’s not going to stop any time soon.

All we can do is work to improve spam filters, refuse to send it out ourselves, and get rid of it as soon as any reaches us personally.  In the meantime, don’t get too bothered by its presence.  That just gets you thinking about it more, which is what the spammer wanted in the first place.

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