Article Archive >> Community

Reflections: E-mail Messages I Don't Want!

E-mail Messages I Don't Want!
By William L. Bulla

I keep getting e-mails that tell me to forward the message to ten people and I will receive all kind of treasures and good luck, or if I fail to do so within a certain time period hour after receiving the e-mail, I will lose my left ear. Well, maybe not exactly that message, but failure to comply with the sender's wishes will cause me a great disaster of some kind.
I guess I am doomed to all kinds of horrible disasters because I only forward a message if I think it is something that might be wanted by the person, or persons, to whom I send it. Also, I will send it to the number of people I want to receive it, not number mandated by the person sending it to me.
I am also leery of those messages where the sender seems to be on a tirade, or is making strong statements of truth about a controversial subject. For these messages, called eRumors, I have learned to check them with an available source such as
In the process of checking for truth or fiction, I have found many of these are false stories, intentionally designed to create issues or harm individuals, by spreading misinformation. Those individuals, receiving these stories and not checking them for the truth, pass the stories on to as many people as possible, while urging others to do the same.
I have found many of these are false stories that have been intentionally written, and distributed, by individuals trying to create issues. They seem to enjoy fabricating something, then sending it to as many people as possible.
For some, the motive is to cause harm to a specific person or group by spreading misinformation. For others, there is an emotional pay-off from creating something they think may trigger some kind of reaction and mushroom into something big.
Some false stories have been created by people who have a sincere desire to emphasize something they think is true, but which they can't document. So they make up a story they think sounds appropriate. Or, they change, or add, some details to a story that has been passed along to them in order to make it seem more important.
Some of these eRumors that are passed around were never intended be taken seriously as a real account. They are just examples of creative writing. This is especially true of some of the inspirational stories.
Many fictional writings are valuable because of the point they make, not because they are true. Some folks, however, put them on the Internet and preface them by saying, "This is a true story," or "I heard Paul Harvey say this on the radio", or some other way of making you think it is an actual event.
And some have been around a long time. Urban legends are false stories that have either been circulating long enough or have been spread widely enough to have become classics. It's virtually impossible to know where they came from, but they have all the right ingredients to remain alive.
I love to receive e-mails, but if you send met these trashy items they will not be forwarded from my computer.

William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.

Printable version

<< back to Articles on Community
<< back to All Articles