back in 1997, when i was new to the internet and the world wide web and email and all of its various working parts, i fell prey to the belief that yes, maybe, if i forwarded this email to enough of my new email friends, microsoft just might give me $200. it seemed ridiculously too good to be true, but unlike the nigerian prince who wanted to give me a bunch of money to do something with my checking account, i knew that just forwarding an email in the hopes of treasure and prize wasn’t going to really do anything too bad. well, not at least until people started attaching zip files to them and whatnot, but that’s a story for another day.
anyway, if you’ve had email for any length of time, you’ve seen these sorts of things come and go. sometimes, they’re really fun diversions; videos of funny things and miraculous things and weird things and all sorts of things that end up to be pop culture icons. from the diet coke and mentos things to rickrolls to ninja cat, all sorts of things get passed around with such a rapid and widespread outbreak, that they’re now called ‘viral.’
one way to see if an email you’ve received is on the up and up is to go to snopes.com, which is a website that goes about debunking and confirming urban legends, including email and internet claims and rumors. i find it incredibly useful when i still am not sure if something i’m reading is legit. where it’s on the borderline — it sounds like it might be plausible, but there’s just a few elements that render it questionable as well. and i don’t have the mythbusters boys and girls to help me out.
well, over the weekend, i was hanging out with some friends, only to find out that an email i recently received was totally bogus. and i had had no clue. it didn’t matter so much, because i hadn’t forwarded it on, and it didn’t impact my life in any negative or measurable way, but i just cannot for the life of me figure out how this would benefit someone to continue to pass it around, unless it truly is some bad real-life version of telephone, where a message gets distorted and gets passed around from person to person with no real way to correct the original message.
so a friend sends me this email saying that there’s these six black labs that need to be adopted and they’ve already had their shots or been dewormed or whatever but they need to get homes and blah blah blah. i know i can’t take a puppy and i really don’t know anyone else who can, so i see it and i know it’s sad, but i don’t really think twice about it and i don’t forward it on. so, i’m in the car with my friends and we get to talking about dogs or whatever and someone mentions this email. and somehow we all start to realize that we ALL got this email. and that the dogs were all from different cities when we each got the email … palos heights, algonquin, etc.
one of the girls i was with said she had read that this wasn’t even real and that the puppies had all been adopted a long time ago and if you went to snopes and looked it up (scroll down to the second story), you’d see it was just something people kept sending around. again, if this is something that just got passed around and around, i guess that’s just a weird internet thing. but if it’s some person’s idea of a prank to see how many people they can get to keep passing it on, what point does this serve? i mean, just to see how man heartstrings they can pull …?? but to what end? it’s not like there’s any real puppies involved. and the picture in that second story is the exact picture in the email i received. it’s just bizarre.