Spam Unites People Around The Globe In Odd Social Experiment

As the saying goes, when life hands you spam, hatch plans with your fellow spamees to create a new social network and otherwise engage in friendly penpal relationships. That might not be a saying yet, but it’s what happened when a spam email spiraled into the land of “reply all,” uniting annoyed people around the globe.

There’s nothing like mutual hatred to bond strangers together against a common cause, and in this case, that uniting factor was a piece of spam that multiplied through use of the “reply all” email function, reports the Wall Street Journal.

An automated reply from a business on the spammer’s list inadvertently went to everyone who had received that original spam, via a cloaked address that signed up recipients to a list serv, which kept spinning its net wider as others replied “take me off this list.” Of course, various forms of strong language popped up.

Hostility increased, at first, as recipients barked at each other to stop the cycle and cease replying. Of course, those messages also counted as replies. Then, someone in London made a suggestion to turn the whole mess into a social outing, writing: “Personally, I feel that after this many emails from you lot, we should all knock off together to the pub.”

And just like that, things turned more friendly. Someone else emailed the group with another idea — why not turn it into something useful?

“Rather than getting steamed up about all this, maybe it is worth considering setting up a LinkedIn group in which we can exchange crazy banter–or possibly even business opportunities if we can establish our common link,” he wrote.

Another spamee started a LinkedIn group the very next day, called “Unified by Spam–the Social Experiment.” It currently hosts more then 50 discussions, with strangers chatting about traveling to each other’s countries, making plans for drinks and other friendly conversations.

Who knew spam could warm the heart?

*Thanks for the tip, Stephen!

Changing the Subject: Spam Makes Friends Across Continents [Wall Street Journal]