I just got an email asking me to join some low-class “dating” site. It claimed to be from my uncle. Knowing what I do about the internet and how things can go, I asked him if he sent it. He was completely unaware. Someone I know on FaceBook is currently running around apologizing for spammy posts that are tagging everyone they’re connected to.
Sometimes, things just happen. Sites grab your contact lists without your permission, an account gets hacked or something else happens that causes things to be sent out claiming to be from someone who has absolutely no idea what’s going on. Unfortunately, many people are quick to judge and start treating the sender badly.
I actually lost a friend and several contacts some months back when my Yahoo account was hacked. Spam was getting sent to everyone I knew via my account, and I had no idea it was happening until hateful email responses started coming in. It didn’t help matters that LinkedIn and Stik started sending emails out without my permission.
People wrote me emails calling me a spammer and far worse names as well. They never once considered that I was unaware of what was happening. I was very upset, and tried to let them know what was happening, but they insisted that I was bad news and they wanted nothing more to do with me. That person on FaceBook is receiving similar hateful comments, and to me it’s just wrong.
If you get an unwanted email or social network message from someone, don’t fly off the handle calling them names and assuming they’re a spammer. Is this normal behavior for them? Would you expect that kind of content from their account? Think first and act afterward. Contact them and ask if they’re aware of the messages. Be patient and respectful. It’s quite possible that they aren’t aware, and will be just as upset that the messages were sent as people are that they got them. Give them a chance before you put a negative label on them.