Unclutter Your Inbox

It is time to rebel against the glut of emails forwarded to you by friends who are clueless about these messages’ origins. This week we look at a website you need to either bookmark or add to your rss feed. You will be happier, your friends will thank you, and your inbox will be much less cluttered.

Urban Legends (www.snopes.com). Snopes, a moniker taken from the fictional family name dreamed up by William Faulkner, needs to be a household name, if it isn’t already. Just as Google, Yahoo, YouTube and MySpace are known to just about everyone who uses a computer, Snopes is known to many, but not all. I am among some guilty souls who forget to check Snopes before forwarding some of the things sent to my inbox. I plan to be more careful about that, because I would like to keep the friendships and trust with the people in my email address book.

Let’s have a closer look at Snopes.com, so that you’ll know what to find within its pages:

  • I suggest you start by going to the “Inboxer Rebellion” page of links. You will find references for Boycotts, Charity, Class Action Settlements, Hoaxes, Scams, Medical Appeals, Missing or Sick Children, and Something for Nothing. Look here and read whether that email that sounds legit is really true, completely false, partly true, or undetermined. You’ll save yourself embarrassment if you check the accuracy first before forwarding the email.
  • Check next the Top 25 Hottest Legends. Yes, that Bill Gates/Microsoft/AOL giveaway is still on the list, having circulated the ‘net for at least five years. And yes, I received an email about it last week from an unsuspecting friend who needs to know about Snopes.com. Another current email making the rounds has to do with the National Do Not Call list. Snopes tells us that we do not have to renew our phone numbers for the list, and we don’t have to submit our cell phone numbers either, because the latter is protected under a separate piece of legislation.
  • Consult the glossary to learn about snopes’ catchphrases. Glurge is a term for those emails whose content tends toward often syrupy inspirational themes. Slacktivism applies to our feel good behavior when we simply click our mouse to donate to a charity, without having to do any work or send any money.
  • Peruse the many links in the left-hand column of the website. It provides enough information to keep you on top of the latest scams. There is enough reading to keep your interest for hours, if you are so-inclined.
  • Provide the link to snopes.com to all your email friends when you find a piece of email confirmed as false by snopes.com. I appreciate the same from my email friends when they remind me that I have not checked the accuracy of that forwarded email.

New 411 Options: (www.google.com/goog411; www.free411.com). Note that these services are related to your phone use, although Free-411 lets you surf for information on the internet. Free-411 was introduced last summer, and I am unsure of when Google began their service. Either one will let you find the information you need about businesses without paying a fee for it. Just punch in your choice of 800 number service above, tell where you are located, and what business you are looking for. Depending on your location, you will be given a menu of choices. Punch in the number of the choice, and you will be directly connected to that business. Imagine that you are stuck with a flat tire and no spare in an unfamiliar town. With the help of one of these free 411 services and your cell phone, help is near at hand. (1-800-GOOG-411; !-800-Free-411).

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~ by IndianaDunesPoet on May 20, 2008.

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