Social Question

beachwriter's avatar

Why do people forward heartwarming "true" stories and amazing "actual" photos in e-mail?

Asked by beachwriter (360 points ) August 21st, 2009

We all get them, from otherwise intelligent, sensible individuals. The “true” story of the grieving father who wrote “Taps” during the civil war, or the “amazing” photo of the lightning bolt next to the tornado and oil rig, or the “incredible” music-machine in the basement of MIT… These are usually multiple “forwards” with lots of !!!!!. They are also forwarded by people who don’t know how to BCC. Given how simple it is to look up and verify things via Google, etc., why do you suppose these persist?

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11 Answers

Grisaille's avatar

Humans are naturally social creatures. We share stuff. This is just an extension of that into the digital world.

That said, I have a “No FW” policy. If you forward me a picture, story, quotation, or anything of the sort, I personally visit your house with a rocket launcher that shoots chainsaws.

And it won’t be pretty.

kyanblue's avatar

The girl dying of cancer that the Make A Wish foundation has forwarded around a chain email in benefit of?

Maybe it’s a social thing. I do it to you + 29 other people. Clearly I must be doing something right if I have thirty friends to forward to!

I think the more time I spend on the internet, the more cynical I am about these urban e-legends. Nowadays I Snope (like ‘scope’, but easier!) everything out.

tedibear's avatar

I snopes ALL of that stuff. My brother in law is a huge offender with this and I check everything he sends me. Much like @Grisaille I don’t forward most things.

TheCreative's avatar

Just make sure to forward them as soon as you get them so you don’t get murdered by an evil little girl.

photographcrash's avatar

to be annoying. or because they are superstitious. either way.. annoying.

MissAusten's avatar

I have a friend who used to forward every single chain, religious, sappy, or full-of-dire-warnings email to me. I always check them on Snopes, and then reply to her email with whatever I found out. Every single time, the email was false. Most of them are silly (baby carrots can kill you, Magic Erasers give kids hideous rashes), but sometimes they piss me off. When she forwarded me something from Focus on the Family, I replied, “You do know I’m a liberal, right?”

She stopped sending me things. My cousin, who only forwards pornographic emails, is much more entertaining.

This cartoon sums up the email thing perfectly. Ironically enough, it was forwarded to me by the same friend I mentioned above.

YARNLADY's avatar

According to a spam busters group Hubby belonged to, many of those FWD’s are generated by people who are trying to cripple the internet. The more interesting they can make the story, the more likely they can get masses of people sending them. It is an effort to attack the system through denial of service

wilbert's avatar

aren’t these people a pain in the ass. quite frankly gettting a cyber card of a dog wagging its tail and messing with my desktop memory is no gift. Cheap assholes. buy a card, only 1$ and a stamp 50 cents. If you can’t put enough thought into sending such a mesage, don’t bother as it will only be deleted. at least a card, I post on my wall. That is why when I do charity work and they ask me for an email address, tell them I don’t have one. I don’t care to get some sappy email. baby, I want something to show and collect.

YARNLADY's avatar

@MissAusten thank you for that link

aprilsimnel's avatar

Because it makes them feel like they’re communicating with you/doing a good deed when they really aren’t.

kyanblue's avatar

This brings back some nostalgic memories. According to chain mails, I should have died eighteen times in the past five years, and I’m cursed with bad luck for the next century.

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