[OFFTOPIC] Re: What is Spam, anyway?

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#1 Mon, 2000-06-19 12:04
Joe Brenner
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[OFFTOPIC] Re: What is Spam, anyway?

A few quick thoughts about self-promotion, and the meaning of spam.

The thing about the net that makes it interesting is that it allows a much more personal form of mass communication than anything that's existed before.

The reason that spam is grossly offensive is only in part because of the resources that it wastes, really it's a perversion of a medium designed to let human beings communicate with each other.

It's really significant that spam is almost always immediately identifiable because the tone of voice is all wrong. It just doesn't sound like a human being talking. The person that wrote it just doesn't have a clue about the context their message is appearing in.

So is it spam if Graham Connah tells the people on the Saturn list about an upcoming performance? No. It might be off-topic (someone who wasn't familiar with Graham's keyboard playing might think so, anyway). It might be inappropriate because it's a global list and most people won't be able to go to the show... but on the other hand, Graham is clearly a member of the list community... he reads what goes down here, participates in discussions, etc. By no means can you consider a show announcement from him "spam".

If you want to talk about an upcoming show, but you don't want to come off like a spammer, there's one pretty simple rule: just come on like a human being.

And there's a few simple things you can do if you're afraid that someone is going to get all fussy with you about the rules:

(1) Don't forget the "Ob:", the obligatory on-topic reference. E.g. "I've been thinking about Ra's rendition of 'Somtimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child', and this show I'm going to try a similar approach to 'The Star-spangled Banner'.

(2) Don't forget the "sig file", the signature message at the bottom of your posting. There's a tradition of sticking a couple of lines of "off-topic" material at the bottom of each message that works reasonably well for promotional purposes.

-- Turn in Friday, 6/25, Noon-3pm PST for a rare radio appearence by "the Voice of Doom" on KZSU, Stanford 90.1 FM Also on the web: http://realaudio.stanford.edu.