The Internet is a wonderful thing! People of today stay connected like never before.Via the Internet, you have access to real-time news, can send instant messages to friends and family anywhere in the world. You can share and exchange data at the click of a button. Hobby writers can promote themselves in a way not otherwise possible. Breaking news and important events spread like a brush fire.

But, the Internet is far from glorious. It is laden with epidemics …

Email Spam. On any given day, I receive spam at a 50:1 ratio. That is — for every legitimate email, there are 50 junk emails. Popular topics: prescription drugs, male organ enhancements, stock opportunities, free no-effort university degrees, and whatever it is that I keep getting in Russian.

In 2001, spam accounted for roughly 5% of all emails. In 2007, that figure had increased to 90% of the emails received. External Link Luckily, there are today excellent spam filters, capable of blocking the majority of those junk emails from ever reaching your inbox. Nevertheless, spam is a true Internet epidemic!

Show of hands — who likes getting spam? That is what I thought …

Urban Legends. They have always existed. Long before the communication revolution, these were referred to as “old wives’ tales”. External Link A rumor or claim would arise somewhere, and then find itself passed along verbally from one person to the other, or from one generation to the next. While some of those sayings carried with them an ounce of truth, a whole lot of junk was circulated as well.

Today, we are not just unlucky to have older generations continue to spread wild fables to their innocent offspring, we are also bombarded with these stories and exaggerations via the Internet, chiefly in the form of chain letters. The topics vary from get-rich-quick schemes to the latest misunderstandings about laws being passed to some sad story about a presumably cancer sick child who will receive donations for every person the email is forwarded on to. Spam, I tell you! Spam!

Thankfully, there are factual sites like snopes.com that you can forward on to your relatives and more annoying friends …

Anyone’s Medium. Obviously, if you have read something on the Internet, it must be true. Or, at least, many seem to think so. With the Internet becoming increasingly easier to access and utilize, the trustworthiness of the information it contains should be increasingly scrutinized. How difficult is it for anyone to set up their own blog where they can ramble about whatever nonsense they choose? Well, I have one, do I not? Although I consider myself being somewhat of an Internet whiz, it was by no means an intellectual challenge to get this baby started. Point and click!

It gets even worse with websites like wikipedia.org, labeling itself as an “Encyclopedia”. While much of the information on Wikipedia is actually surprisingly good, there is also a lot of junk on there. Seeing how virtually anyone can edit the contents, the information provided should not blindly be taken at face value. The references need to be examined and inspected critically.

Under Construction. Right now, there are more than 200 million matches for the search phrase “under construction“. While some of the websites returned are actually valiantly trying to combat this Internet epidemic, already on the second page of the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), we run across the ridculous actual epidemic.

“This website is under construction!”

“Coming soon!”

“I am apparently Bob the Builder, as I have selected this nice roadwork construction icon as a way of telling you I am simply too lazy to put up some real content or at least tell you what this space is intended to be used for.”

Yuck! Here I shall pause to make a plug for a couple websites turning this horror of the 90’s into a mockery.

In any case, for those who have been around since the youth of inter-/intra-/extrawebs, that construction worker sign brings back memories (or, should I say nightmares?) from when the Internet was dotted with sites being “Under Construction” in the most public fashion. In fact, I cannot drive down the highway without going into constant psychosis whenever I see those signs along the road (although, the highway likely is under construction).

Do you have any horrific memories from your first (or continued) encounters with these or other Internet epidemics?


“For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three.”
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