Is it irony, or hypocrisy?

A coworker sent me the following e-mail this past week. Actually, she didn't send it to just me, but to our whole department.

Advice From Snopes

By now, I suspect everyone is familiar with www.snopes.com and/orwww.truthorfiction.com for determining whether information received via email is just that: true/false or fact/fiction. Both are excellent sites. Below is their advice for us.

Advice from Snopes.com

1) Any time you see an E-Mail that says forward this on to '10' of your friends, sign this petition, or you'll get bad luck, good luck, or whatever,it almost always has an E-Mail tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and E-Mails of those folks you forward toThe host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of 'active' E-Mails addresses to use in SPAM E-Mails, or sell to other spammers.

2) Al most all E-Mails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. These
types of emails can come in many forms. All any of this type of E-Mail is, is a way to get names and ' cookie' tracking information for marketers and spammers - - to validate active E-Mail accounts for their own profitable purposes.

You can do your friends and family members a GREAT favor by sending this information to them; you will be providing a service to your friends, and will be rewarded by not getting thousands of spam E-Mails in the future!

If you have been sending out (FORWARDING) the above kinds of E-Mail, now you know why you get so much SPAM!

Do yourself a favor and STOP adding your name(s) to those types of listings regardless how inviting they might sound!

You may think you are supporting a GREAT cause, but you are NOT in the long run. Instead, you will be getting tons of junk mail later! Plus, we are helping the spammers get rich! Let's don't make it easy for them!

Al so: E-Mail petitions are NOT acceptable to Congress or any other organization. To be acceptable, petitions must have a signed signature and full address of the person signing the petition.

First of all, I must mention that it isn't bad advice... but there are a couple of flaws in logic.

Flaw #1: While the e-mail was titled "advice from Snopes" and included a link to Snopes, I have not been able to locate this advice on Snopes. That leads me to believe that the original writer of this e-mail was fabricating the information about trackers and cookies. The multiple grammatical errors in spacing and erroneous capitalizations also leads me to believe the source to be less than honest. (PS, Snopes is a phenomenal website and if someone sends you "facts" that sound too good to be true, it probably is - and Snopes can help you figure out if it really is too good to be true. Before you forward the free Ericsson laptop offer to your friends, check Snopes... there's no such thing as a free Ericsson laptop.)

Flaw #2: An apparent lack of understanding how internet cookies work. Cookies are used by websites - not e-mails. (Click here for a better understanding of cookies) The author also shows a complete lack of understanding of e-mail attachments, spam, and internet marketing. Either the person that wrote the e-mail is an idiot or assumes lower his/her audience possesses a lower IQ.

Flaw #3: I find a bit of irony (possibly hypocrisy) in an e-mail urges you to forward this ONE e-mail while instructing you not to forward e-mails to your friends and family. Really? "Hey, when an e-mail tells you to forward a message to 10 friends - don't do it. Now forward this to everyone you know." I love logic.

When you receive an e-mail that asks you to forward it to all of your friends, should you do it? No. Not usually. Unless it's really funny. Just think before you clink send. Don't avoid forwarding e-mails out of some false paranoid idea that you're going to start getting dozens of spam e-mails. There's one good reason not to forward junk mail: it will annoy your friends.

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