Do you get emails like this?
"I hardly ever forward things, but this time I just can't resist. This is SO IMPORTANT that I can't keep quiet. I've checked it out with my friend who's an attorney and he assures me that it is 100% true. Please DO NOT DELETE. Read and then FORWARD TO EVERYONE IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK. IF YOU CARE YOU'LL SHARE."
I'll have to admit that I'm receiving fewer of these than I used to, but each new generation of internet users seems to start a new wave of great ones.
And oh, my Dad, bless his heart, was the worst. He was on the internet even before I was, but by the time I got online in '98 he still hadn't learned. So early on, I developed a "nose" for hoaxes, urban legends, fraudulent accusations, etc.
My first and still my best resource for checking stuff out is Snopes.com. Pretty much every urban legend ever invented is on this database, along with its history and its truth or falsity. Sometimes the veracity is listed as "undetermined" but at least they give you enough info that you can either decide for yourself or keep researching.
Now when I get one of these, uh, questionable emails, I go straight to Snopes, copy the URL of the page that debunks it (rarely do I get one that's actually 100% TRUE), hit REPLY ALL, and paste and send to all the nice people who got it in the first place.
No, I'll admit, gentle Granny hasn't made many friends this way. But I feel like I'm doing my little part in cyberspace to mop up the grime.
So check it out, folks. There are other sites as well, but Snopes is my fave. And here's a hint: nothing legit ever comes with an ALL-CAPPED COMMAND TO SEND TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW. If it's that important, I guarantee you'll see it on FOX or CNN. Or Drudge :-)
Oh, and did you hear the one about the guy who had his thumbs surgically altered so he could more easily operate his iPhone?
Labels: Theater of the Absurd