Friends are able to stay in touch today like never before, thanks to advances in technology, such as the messenger app available through the social media giant Facebook. However, before you send your Facebook friend what you think is a harmless message, there’s something you should know — and it should have you stopping before hitting the send button.
Not long ago, email chain letters were an annoying trend, and it seems that since most people are moving towards messaging apps as their primary means of private online communication, the practice is making its way there. Usually accompanied by a pretty picture, the pre-crafted message tells the recipient how wonderful the sender thinks they are before encouraging them to send it on to a number of friends who they hold the same sentiments about. However, before you simply “hold down” on that text to forward it to a batch of your own friends, there are numerous reasons you should refrain.
First, it’s time-consuming, and let’s face it, the majority of the people you are forwarding it to aren’t even going to acknowledge it. But what’s worse, you wasted your time and used up some of your data as well. In addition, you burnt up some of your friend’s data too, as the message was received on their device. However, that’s not the biggest issue since many have data plans that accommodate the usage required.
There’s a reason email chain letters have quickly faded away, and it’s not because people aren’t using emails to communicate as often anymore. Chain messages were notorious for being risky. They could carry Trojan malware attachments, resulting in rapid, widespread infections of devices. Many of these types of messages were nothing more than a scheme, and countless others were used to spread phishing links.
It’s reasonable to believe that scammers will eventually begin to do the same with these social media chain messages, and if you are engaging in the practice, you’re giving them a means for their malicious intent. That person who you sent it to who really doesn’t want to participate in such risky behavior now has to worry if you’ll be mad if they don’t send it back, which really defeats the purpose of making the recipient feel good about themselves, doesn’t it? Still, there’s an even more important reason to refrain from the “chain game” besides the risks associated with it.
If we truly want the recipient to know how amazing they are and how highly we think of them, perhaps a cookie-cutter “send to all” message isn’t the best way to do it. Instead, if we honestly feel so strongly, we should get on a personal level and send a genuine message of our own that will mean more than something thought up by someone with a lot of time on their hands who doesn’t even know the person the message is being sent to. While it might take a little longer, it will mean so much more — and it doesn’t come with the risk of annoying that loved one or inviting a virus into their device.
So, the next time you receive such a message and are tempted to forward it, hoping to invite whatever promises of good fortune into your life or prevent whatever catastrophe it threatens by ignoring it, just send those you love a quick note all your own instead. Besides, it doesn’t take long to drop a quick line, and it will be much more appreciated than that twinkling floral photo with generic text attached.