Linguist, lexicographer, radio host, public speaker

We Are A Long Way From High Internet Literacy Rates

Lord of the Flies. “Thousands of people have no idea that responding to a listserve will broadcast your response to all recipients. Repeated ‘But I don’t even smoke!’ messages reveal an apparently deep-seated belief that spam is somehow targeted at individuals rather than carpet-bombed. Each recipient seemed to think that each unsub demand was directed to them—which reveals how many people have never been on a listserve before, have absolutely no idea what they’re experiencing. Everyone threatens to rat the spammer out to their own ISP (‘If you don’t stop, I’ll tell AOL on you!’). Even after hundreds of repetitions, people are not able to infer that all replies are being refelected to all—which made me wonder how people get through the day to begin with.”

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Grant Barrett