If I Was The King of Spain

If I were a social scientist, what I would study is the “cc” lists in those email messages that friends, family and acquaintances send around of the “here’s a funny joke” or “get a load of this” variety. In those lists of addresses you can see the ties that bind us together; study them, and I think you could make very interesting “social maps.”

Here’s an example: I got an email with the animated penguin image pictured here from a friend. She got it from someone she works with who, in turn, got it from someone who works at the Patterson Palmer law firm in Charlottetown (who sent it to a whole host of people all around PEI) who, in turn, got it from someone in Nova Scotia who seems to have received it from her husband who, in turn, got it from someone at the Hemming Weir Casey law firm in Nova Scotia.

There are over 100 ‘cc’ people listed in the email at this point. And we’re all connected in some obscure way.

For some reason I find this deeply interesting.


Robert Paterson's picture
Robert Paterson on January 13, 2005 - 21:51 Permalink

I find these kinds of emails exceptionally annoying. My cousins who send them almost never send any personal email but persist in sending this kind of stuff.

Many are Virus hoaxes — you know the ones that say that you have to tell all your friends immediately because the anti virus tools won’t work type. Or I get fundamentalist tracts, New Age wonder stories and chain letters

They have a pattern — they are from cousins — all of whom are very basic internet users — few of whom I ever meet in the flesh.

Are these patterns just mine or do they ring a bell?

jodi mclellan's picture
jodi mclellan on January 13, 2005 - 21:54 Permalink

I also find forwards very annoying. As if I have the time and as if I care to read them!

But, c’mon…this ones pretty funny.

Nils's picture
Nils on January 14, 2005 - 03:11 Permalink

I loved this one, but hated that it was yet another e-mail forward. I loathe those things. I get them from all over. Once, I asked — no, pleaded — to be removed from a list. I got utterly FLAMED by the people involved — they hated that I didn’t want to receive their e-mails.

I’d like to say I click and delete these on sight, but dammit — every now and again I get a stoopid penguin mpeg like this that makes me giggle. It doesn’t make up for the trash, the racist jokes, the warnings about viruses that will eat my first-born and cause herpes … but in the end, I just sigh and click the delete button.

Cyn's picture
Cyn on January 14, 2005 - 05:03 Permalink

I don’t know how I’ve done it, but the last time I received a ‘bad joke email’ was months ago. Nor do I ever get spam. Once in a while (maybe twice a month) my POP mail will get some stupid Russian crap email that looks like a pile of Mahjong tiles, but other than that, I’m joke/spam free. Even on my gmail.

oliver's picture
oliver on January 14, 2005 - 16:19 Permalink

Of course I do it, but it feels illicit to look at who’s on the cc list of someone you barely know. I always bcc my mass mailings. Who wants their friends getting to know each other and talking behind their backs?

Ann's picture
Ann on January 14, 2005 - 19:29 Permalink

I am with you Peter. I LOVE reading the cc lists and am more likely to read them than the jokes. I also like reading acknowledgements in the front of books — mainly because twice (out of about 1000 times) I found the name of someone I know.

Clearly, this is a specialized obsession.