We live in a world where certain people thrive on the assumption that everyone else is STUPID. Or at least many people act on the assumption that everyone else lacks in intelligence or the ability to think, recognize lies, or make wise decisions.
The current election season in America is evidence of that, since every campaign ad, debate, or whatever is filled with obfuscation, lies and wordplay to trick all the feeble-minded voters out there. I admit sometimes to feeling stupid when surrounded by the craziness because it is difficult to wade through the layers of lies and mis-directions to uncover the truth about issues, candidates or anything. That’s why all I can do is vote my conscience and vote based on my own understanding of the issues.
But this isn’t about the elections. The inspiration for this post came from my decision to clear out some spam comments on the blog this morning. We all get them, and it is pretty easy to recognize some of them: no real name, no picture, multiple links, repetitive address, on a post from way back etc. I admit, when I first began blogging, I fell for a couple of spam comments because I was simply so excited to be getting a comment on my posts. However, after I started receiving real comments from real human beings, and interacting with those human beings in other ways, I began to think about spam comments and wonder–who are these people, what do they hope to achieve, and do they think I’m stupid?
This morning I discovered this comment in spam,
“I haven’t checked in here for a while because I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend “
Now, this is one of those unusual comments which could trick you into believing that it is actually from a real person who has something to say. It was on my most recent post. There are no links to unknown pages. And, although it doesn’t specifically address anything in my post, there’s nothing so random in it to suggest that it isn’t about that post. There is also a name attached to the comment (although only a first name). The sentence makes sense, and it even includes an emoticon.
However, I’m not STUPID. Let’s look at the above comment more closely, shall we? The language suggests an intimacy between me and the comment writer. “You deserve it my friend,” as if we have already had some kind of relationship building even if only through the blogosphere.
Now, it’s possible. I’ve made several friends through this blog. Some I’ve only interacted with through technology, some I have met in person. Some I talk to on Facebook on a regular basis. Some have faded away, but reappear at surprising times.
Still, I will include them in my list of friends or at least acquaintances who I would like to get to know better. I can say that the friendships I’ve formed through the blog have some similarities:
- We may not agree on everything but we all respect each other’s opinions, ideas, and journey.
- We show that respect by making thoughtful comments, giving constructive criticism, and occasionally sending virtual love and support to each other.
- Most of them seem to say what they mean and mean what they say.
- All of them recognize that sometimes people need space away from the blogosphere.
- Each one of them is intelligent, creative, and challenges me to become a better writer, artist, and human being.
I could list them all here, but I think they know who they are.
These are people that I believe I would be friends with in person if we were near enough. I don’t always read their posts. They don’t always read mine. But, we read, respond, and react with thoughtfulness as true friends should.
A true friend of me and my blog would not include the not-so-subtle insult of the first part of this spam comment: “I haven’t checked in here for a while because I thought it was getting boring. . . ” Nor would they try to grace me with the honor of “ I guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist.”
Do me a favor, don’t bother.
I’m the first to admit that my posts aren’t always scintillating prose full of wit and wisdom. I welcome constructive criticism of my work. But, I would never tell a friend, a fellow blogger, or anyone else that I was bored by their writing (unless I was giving constructive criticism to a student, and I would never use the word “bored”). Nor would I become friends with someone who leaves comments like this.
Seriously, what do spammers hope to achieve and why do they think we are so stupid?