An Open Letter to All My Virtual and Real-World Friends, and Family
Dear Friends and Family,
I really do enjoy looking at the inspirational or funny emails you send me sometimes. I read them and am inspired, happy you thought of me, and sometimes I get a much needed laugh. But then I get to the last section. That’s where you lay the guilt trip on me that ruins everything. This is where you apply the pressure. This is where I learn that probably you never would have thought to send me this email if someone hadn’t pressured you into it.
Many of these emails state that something wonderful will happen if I find five or ten other people to inspire with this message by forwarding it to them and also back to you. Some state something bad might happen to me if I don’t. Others imply that if I don’t pass it on, it must be because I’m ashamed of my faith or I don’t care about helping others.
I have a different opinion. When I get your email, I can’t really think of the required number of people who would want to receive a message they were expected to pass on. Most of my friends, like me, live very busy lives and don’t really spend a lot of time socializing on the computer. They use it to work to produce income and network. Most of my virtual relationships are work-related. They don’t do much socializing by email.
The real effect of receiving one of these emails is to make the recipient feel pressured that she is letting you down if she breaks the chain. Most of us who work and practically live online know that the real purpose of these emails is to collect lots of email addresses that are later used to send spam to people. On the rare occasions I have yielded to the pressure a good friend put on me, I have always deleted the old addresses in the header, sent a Bcc to the forward addresses and made the main address to the person who sent me the email. At least that protects anyone I forward to. I hope you will suggest they do the same if they choose to forward.
But, dear friends, I wish you would not send me these emails. And I wish you would not imply that I am ashamed of Jesus or lack patriotism, or don’t hold my friends in high esteem or don’t support cancer survivors, or whatever if I don’t change my status to match yours on Facebook or repin your pin. My great desire on social networking sites and in my emails to friends is to keep up with what is happening in their lives and to share what is important to me.
Sometimes I may share a funny picture or one that expresses something I believe. Sometimes I may post a link to something I think is important. I try not to share links that try to sell you something. Sometimes I may share a link to something I wrote that I don’t want to repeat to each friend individually. Most are thoughts I think are important or events that happen in my life that I would want to read if you were to share something similar with me that happened to you. I don’t share them directly on Facebook for many reasons, but one is that I can make them prettier on other sites. I figure my real friends who really want to know what I’m thinking and doing will click on these links.
Thank you, dear friends, for reading this far. I understand the pressure you are under to count me as one of your five people, but you might consider not yielding to this pressure yourself unless your heart is really in it. If this is something you really do want to share with me, then why not send it to me as a separate email with a personal note attached so I will know what’s happening with you and why you really liked this message. If you are just feeling pressure, resist it, save the bandwidth, and you have my permission to share this post with anyone you know. The easy way to do that is to share the link. Saves all that copying and pasting.
P.S. Please do not post this on the internet as anything but a link with a short note to introduce it.
Pictures and content are original and may not be used without permission, B. Radisavljevic, Copyright 2013, All Rights Reserved
Previously published on Bubblews and removed
Image Credit » image from shareasimage.com CCO, text on image mine.