Junk Mail, Spam, Unsolicited E-mail whatever you want to call it was one of the biggest annoyances of E-mail. In fact it’s still just as annoying as it was. Every website on the internet is trying to send you it’s weekly email and usually makes you uncheck at tiny box somewhere at the bottom of a horrible page of terms and conditions to stop it from happening.
I decided to post about this when I woke up this morning with 14 emails. Not one of them was worth reading. On Cyber Monday I had about 23 emails and I’ve only bought things from American websites for 3 months. What does that say about the state of E-mail. Yes, I can put them into Spam or I could even unsubscribe (by law I have the right to) but it’s become increasingly difficult even to just do that. You’ll find an unsubscribe button at the very bottom of the E-mail in a size 7 font. Then when you finally click it, it may ask for your account user-name and password before you can unsubscribe. Sometimes it’s much simpler and you just click it sometimes not.
Another problem with these E-mails is sometimes the reason we signed up to them or allowed them to be sent to our emails is because we generally had an interest in what we were being offered. When Amazon asked me if I would like to receive an E-mail once a week showing what deals were on I thought “yeah, why not. It’s only once a week and I might get a bargain”. Then out of nowhere, I started getting daily deals, of things I really couldn’t care less about or things I’ve already bought even. In fact it makes me less tempted to shop with them (although there are little online stores as good). There was no notification that they would be sending me more emails, they just started hoarding this stuff at me without even telling me. In fact if they emailed me saying, would you like to receive deals more often, I’d of never of said yes. Nobody would and they know that so they just do it. All major retailers are culprits. It’s infuriating. The worst thing is that I do want to receive the emails sometimes just not every day. Soon I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes every hour. They are forcing products into our lives by disturbing us. Bombarding us with their information and offers.
So that brings me onto Facebook quite nicely. Signing up for one thing and receiving something quite different. It all started when groups were turned into pages, pages were things people liked and things people liked could be turned into marketing machines. Again when people sign up for them you don’t necessarily know what your getting yourself in for. There is no measure on how much will show up on your news feed and how often. In fact so many groups that are now pages that used to be completely dormant have recognized there monetizing potential. So what are they doing? They are doing exactly what everyone. You liked “baked potatoes” in 2008 and now you’re being offered hair removal treatment for only $299. Unfortunately, I signed up for Facebook during the earlier phases of the network. You know, when it really was for sharing photos and keeping in contact with people. Yes, it’s improved dramatically for doing those features but Facebook is now a monetized business and many other monetized businesses are using Facebook to get to you. Facebook does in fairness make it relatively easy to remove these from your feed whilst maintaining your likes but again, like email they accumulate too fast. I have somehow liked 470 odd things. I probably don’t even like half of those things but at some point in my sad, lonely nights I thought about clicking that like button. It doesn’t benefit me in any way whatsoever. It tells other people that at some point in my life I’ve agree’d with it.
It’s also annoying because what I like is now documented even though everything I do like changed very often. I used to be a really big gamer, now not so much. Someone might come up to me in the street and tell me that they saw I’m really into Gamecube games and retro gaming. Not necessarily true. I had a Gamecube and I adored it at the time but it’s not my scene anymore. What happens to the people who have had Facebook since they were really young? Some people on Facebook may simultaneously be liking Glenfidditch and Art Attack.
I’ve been an ever-growing feud with Facebook since The LAD Bible became one of the most annoying things ever to hit British culture. Then there was I F****ing Love Science which got so many likes from people with liberal arts degrees it upsets me. I like it just see the tripe that comes through it and the comments that some people with about as much scientific knowledge as a newborn child has.
I want fixes. I want quick fixes for both the email and Facebook spam problems. If I can’t find a solution soon I’m pretty sure I’ll have to touch-up on my scripting skills and find an answer myself. I’m talking likes that expire after a certain time if I tell them to. An extension to Gmail that highlights the unsubscribe functions or something that only accepts an email with the word offers in once every 5 days.