Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Friday, November 06, 2009

Congratulations! You got my attention...

If you emailed me today about a missing kid, complete with poster and heartfelt plea, congratulations. You've gotten my attention. My full and complete attention for about two minutes. Here's how that two minutes of attention will play out:

1. I copy your email address.
2. I paste it in my gmail "filter" program.
3. I click "bypass inbox, mark as read, delete"
4. I click "apply to previous email"
5. I close my gmail program.
6. I write a blog post about it.
7. I return to work

Net result: nothing you send me ever again will hit my email box.

If you add every address to your address book, you should NEVER hit "send to all."

If you are clueless enough to do this, you're probably not someone I want to work with anyway.

Email is not some new fangled tool that's hard to figure out.

And, honest to godiva, you shouldn't add agents to your address book until they've done something more than pass or rant about you on their blog.

Tally of email addresses added to the filter: 1 (I don't give a rat's ass about cute animal pictures either)


Stephen Parrish said...

I was going to copy you on my missing cat announcement (calico, likes string, pukes a lot), but now I've changed my mind.

Too Cute to be Very Interesting said...

I remember a time when I used to pay close attention to those emails. I think it was called 1996.

Chris Townsend said...

Hope there's an especially warm spot in the underworld for spammers!!

Margaret Yang said...

Heartfelt and touching spam is still spam.

Keith Schroeder said...

Around my neck of the woods Amber Alerts are sent to businesses. In my office we always print out Amber Alerts in full color and put the poster by the front door and front desk.

I assume this wasn't an Amber Alert. That would be pretty cold. If it was part of a query, shame on the sender.

Sara said...

If only I could do that to friends who forward me emails along the same lines without feeling guilty.

On a related note, I've never understood why some people feel the need to not separate personal and professional contacts when sending out mass emails. For that matter, I've never understood why some people feel the need to send along mass emails in the first place.

Laura said...

I think I just fell in love with your blog. This wins.

Aimee States said...

Yep. Someone's a knucklehead.

scaryazeri said...

Someone sent me one of those "send this to 10 people and Sony Erickson will give you a laptop" chain letters. I said: Sure they will, sweetheart. And Microsoft will donate 10k to cure that poor little sick boy if you forward another email to 10 more people!

And that guy makes a decent money at a good job! Unreal.

_*Rachel*_ said...

I'd be terrified if some of those emails were real--you know, the free laptop or 10 cents to cancer for every time you send it. If whoever's giving the 10 cents can track the email and who I send it to, I'd be scared.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

I just got a 'read this poem & don't delete it or something bad will happen.' I'm willing to take the risk.

We also have emails that float around the office to adopt puppies. They're usually about 5 years old.

Many of those missing kids emails are also several months or years old. If in doubt, just check the news or google the kid.

David Edgerley Gates said...

Delete, delete, delete. I used to get a lot of this crap when I worked for the state of NM (oh, you thought government computer networks were only for the business of governing?), and it was astonishing how many savvy people would open these messages and as a result infect the entire network. If you're pitching an agent, respect both your time and hers. Don't contribute clutter. Janet doesn't want to hear about how my hair hurts this morning, or she'd be following me on Twitter.

Sharon Mayhew said...

Seriously, someone sent that to get your attention? It wasn't like the beginning of a query letter? I would have been beside myself with worry about the child. What made you think it wasn't real?

Sadly, I don't have any email addresses of agents in my contacts. I have some editors I've met and/or had some kind of professional communication with.

I'm guessing whoever sent you this did not click on your sidebar question, "What's NOT a query letter."

Lauren said...

Wow, it takes you two whole minutes to do that? You're slow.

: )

Monda said...

I really hate forwarded emails. They're right up there with all those imaginary plants people give you on Facebook.

Susan Quinn said...

Honest to Godiva . . .

Love that!

And those look like the Seven Steps for Highly Effective Agents. :)

Thanks for the funny.

Chantal said...

Oh, I forgot to ask for your social and all your credit card numbers in my spam!

I can't believe people send stuff like that out to the world. What a waste of time and air.

Loretta Ross said...

My niece is always texting me these things that go along the lines of "an angel is waiting to do something nice for you today. Forward this message to twenty people in the next ten minutes and your deepest desires will come true. But if you don't, you will be consigned to despair and oblivion and no one will ever love you again!"

I'm like, "great! I only have four people on my contact list. And I don't know HOW to forward. You just doomed me! Thanks, bitch!"

Diana said...

@Loretta, LOL ... I get doomed like that all the time.

Chris Eldin said...

I've seen similar things played out on my kids' emails.

Last year somebody started an email chain saying "Bet you can't type your full name and address with your elbow in under 30 seconds. If you can, forward it to me and to ten new people." Or something like that. It went around half the school before I saw it on my son's computer. I alerted the tech ed teacher so there could be yet another lesson about giving info on the internet. There have been other types of creative spam aimed at kids. It's hard to stay on top of it all.

I didn't know about the copy/paste/filter thing. Thanks!!

Laurel said...

Sorry to be off topic, but do you think this chick has been reading your blog?

Perhaps you could pick up a shirt like that. It's quite fetching.

Ink said...

It wasn't clear from the post whether this was a real missing child or not...

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Subject: Birth Announcment(s)

Dear Janet,

Attached are ten dozen photos of pregnant goats. I've been busy. I'll resume submitting when I go into hiding in March. I always hide when the kids are being born. It's the safe thing to do.

Please post a few photos on your blog, especially the one of me smiling. It will boost my ego.

Best regards and we'll always have that day in Portland,

Bill E. Goat

J.J. Bennett said...

You have got to be kidding me? People... can they be so idiotic?

But look at it this way, it gave you your blog post for the day. ;)

Steve Stubbs said...

I hope this did not come from someone who got a Trojan Horse on their computer. A Trijan Horse is apparently a malicious program that is installed when one visits a booby trapped site. It then sends out spurious e-mail to everyone in the victim's e-mail address book without said victim's knowledge.

I have got several bogus e-mails from people I know, and in every case malware was the cause.

amy said...

Sorry, Janet, you're being too sharky with this one. If my child were missing, and you were in the area that he/she was missing, you'd get an email. So would the milkman, every retailer in a six-block radius, every telephone post, bus-stop, etc.

You could spam-file me all you want, but if you found my missing child, I wouldn't care.

Janet Reid said...

Amy, you've already agreed with what I said by limiting your emails to "if you were in the area"

That means you would have gone through your address book and picked out those people who were LOCAL to you.

agreen12345 said...

Okay, I'm missing something here so someone please help me understand! This was a notice about a missing kid? I understand not liking spam or irrelevant emails, but this is the one that you choose to make your point with? A missing kid?

I am a HUGE fan of your blog but something seems wrong here.

Janet Reid said...

How better to make the point than with the email that makes people think "oh this is the exception to the rule."

Don't add agents to your address book unless you're past the query stage.

lynnekelly said...

People, this was probably one of those email forwards about a missing kid who's either not a real kid or who was missing once for about 10 minutes a few years ago. I get these now & then and take a few seconds to verify on Snopes that it's not a real alert, and I wish the senders would do the same instead of mass-forwarding to everyone they know. It's like the "Warning: this happened to me in the Target parking lot!" emails. No, it didn't happen to you or anyone else.

I'm sure if it were a legitimate alert about a missing child in the area, Janet would take a minute to look under her desk before deleting the email.

CKHB said...

I add agents to my address book upon sending my first query, because that's the easiest way for me to ensure that any replies (positive or form reject) don't go to the spam folder.

I do not, however, ever send group or bulk emails.

amy said...

Ohh, then, yes, she's a moron.

: )

BJ said...

For a while there, on Twitter, there was a rash of Amber Alert tweets -- messages about children who had been lost or kidnapped. Twitter could possibly be a good forum for such messages -- except that people were tweeting fake alerts.

Always check before forwarding these messages on. Snopes is a great site to check: They actually investigate messages to find truth or fiction.

And, as Janet says, don't send these to people in a business. If you *must* send this crap on, send it to close friends and family. Better yet, just DON'T DO IT.