Saturday, October 14, 2006

No! I wanted to keep that one!

By Keith Fisher

I'v'e been out of town and wasn't able to write the blog I wanted to write so I used this one that has been floating on my hard drive for a few weeks. I hope you'll enjoy it and I'll be back next week with the profound one. (At least I hope it will be)

Not too long ago, Big Blue and Mr. Gates took some of the first steps into what we called the information age. I know there were others involved but if they want recognition, they can send me an email. After all, There’s plenty of blame to go around.

Since then, we have progressed. We have reached a point in our sophistication that allows us to tell someone how bored we are at any moment during every day. We can ignore our teachers, even our boss, as we send text messages into cyberspace.

Using email, I can have someone send me a message and I will be able to read it in an instant. I can also delete an unwanted email that I never asked for. Junk emails or "spam" as we lovingly call it today, has gotten out of hand!

During the time of the "dark ages", before email and cell phones. If we were solicited, we could leave the store, throw junk mail away, close the door on salesmen, and never think about it again. We didn’t have to worry about an indecent proposal or read words that we never heard outside of a poorly supervised locker room. There were even laws that governed telemarketing, limiting what could be said on the phone.

In another Blog, Jeffrey R Savage told of a wonderfully funny way of dealing with this problem: look it up at six LDS writers and a frog the link is on you right.

Most internet service providers offer a filter. We can set our filter to limit words and block certain senders. It is a great feature, but have you noticed the sleazy dregs of our society will change the spelling of certain words, and change their ID so they can get their email through the filter.

I would admire that kind of cleverness except one thing: What kind of bonehead really believes that if I take steps to reject their email in one form, I would buy what ever they are selling if they put it another way? Basic sales and marketing aside, I should have the right to be sold on my terms not theirs.

I mention this because I was the recipient of an email that I really wanted to keep but in my mindless haste, I deleted it along with the spam. In my mind I began to conjure up a scenario where a publisher sends me an acceptance email and . . . "Oh no, that was from my publisher!" Or worse, Someone gets your business card or bookmark and reads the "really cool" email address you set up for yourself. The one that is "perfect for you", and sells it to the spammers.

As I said above, there are filters, but should I have to bother? They don’t always work the way we want them too anyway. I want a button . . . a way that I can send a tiny robot that tells the sender that I am not interested. The second time, he zaps the sender with an electrical charge. Every time that sender changes the subject and sends it again, the robot uses more voltage. You could recognize who the spammers were then. They would be the ones that have the frizzy hair and the zap marks on their cheeks.

Many authors use email to announce the release of a new book or news that will affect their readers. Please understand I think this is a good thing. But they always make sure that their fans know they are going to get an email from them. And they never sell email addresses to others. We need to keep this in mind when we are famous authors.

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