Email is a tool most of us are now unable to imagine are lives without, especially in the business world. But when it comes to mass family emails, I’ve learned to totally abstain from any of it.
At first, our family started emailing as a fast, easy method to keep everyone in touch with family happenings–much as it should be. Happy Birthday, Christine, Uncle Jim’s knee replacement went just swimmingly, etc. My 80-year old grandfather even took computer classes at the university so that he could email with us. (Cute!)
But then people started emailing 62k about their day’s activities. And entire essays about the state of the country, which yes, leads to discussion about things like religion and politics. Which obviously leads to people saying some ignorant ass shit.
The last time I dare partake in a family discussion was about SUVs and gas mileage. Knowing that most of my relatives still live in the midwest and find it perfectly acceptable to drive huge ass vehicles around town (Kansas and Iowa rarely have poor air quality days like we do in Denver), I approached the subject scientifically. Like, pulled stats and shit. In fact, I spent 30 minutes putting together a table of statistics so as to speak logically and not emotionally to folks who had trouble understanding the impact of fuel emissions on the air.
The next day I got a non-scientific, emotionally-charged email from my uncle (who, by the way, got stinking rich as a contractor during the first Gulf War) telling me that I needed to read more and listen less, you know, to those damn hippies. Because I clearly, (a) don’t write and read FOR A LIVING, and (b) didn’t assemble scientific facts from government sites in my SUVs-are-pretty-dumb-argument.
Nowadays, I route most family email to my SPAM box. I also opened a separate email account, and the only family members who know about it are my parents. But with an impending cancer death in the family, I’ve been checking in to see what people are talking about.
Which was why I was so horrifically amused to find that my great aunt in California, who incessantly forwards handfuls of random and inaccurate shit to the entire family, had been publicly chastised by her daughter-in-law for sending us “A Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins.”
Her daughter-in-law responded by saying:
Found this on snopes.com. [link] This email is not from John Hopkins and they do not endorse the contents. We’d appreciate it if you’d do a little fact checking around before you send this stuff out to the whole family.
Sigh. Just another day on the family eWaves.