Magazine article Technology & Learning

The Fine Art of Spam. (Editor's Desk)

Magazine article Technology & Learning

The Fine Art of Spam. (Editor's Desk)

Article excerpt

Do you start your day with a hearty spam breakfast? I do. Just this morning, for instance, the following were served up in my e-mail inbox: "Make $24,000 in 24 hours!" "Be your own boss," "Red hot global opportunity," "Travel and save money," "Hair loss?"

This and more--despite a company-wide spam filter. Before the blocker there were lots more messages and the subject lines were even less subtle ("teen Web cam"), if that's possible.

Still, it must be acknowledged that spammers are becoming increasingly crafty. As we regular computer users hone our spam-spotting skills (message from "william 1649"), spammers are finding new and more insidious ways of getting their messages in under the radar. Common methods include the use of keywords ("Your paycheck"), the faux personalized note ("Hello friend"), ostensive company must-reads ("Your security authorization enclosed"), and the alarm ("IMPORTANT"), to name a few. And while there is a bit of retaliatory satisfaction in the ability to simply delete, delete, delete without reading "Proven wealth building strategies," "Last chance....," "Get paid to cruise," and others, I sometimes wonder how many legitimate e-mails are getting tossed out with the trash. Oh, and then there's that whole wasted time thing to consider, as well.

Spam is an intrusion. It is the digital equivalent of the telemarketing phone calls you get during dinner (to which I respond, "Can't talk. Feeding 14 kids."). And so I found particularly welcome Jeffrey Branzburg's In-Service column this month (page 39). …

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