How I Deal with Spam & Other Inefficiencies of Electronic Technology

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Sometimes technology really bites. I felt that way today when my iPhone was at 17% charge and completely shut down during a very important work call. Technology, particularly my mobile phone, tablet and laptop are the mobile office that runs my company, and when technology doesn’t work, there isn’t another cell phone or landline to run to when my phone mysteriously bites the dust.  Or maybe it’s because  I rely on technology for myself more than my business. It’s entertainment and how I connect personally as well as professionally. And maybe I’m sitting on a webinar or a presentation that is just kind of boring. I need some entertainment so I flip to the Facebooks of Twitter to share a golden nugget of wisdom that I think is super entertaining.

One of my biggest fails and personal electronic annoyances aside from hastily sent tweets is the dreaded reply all. It’s the reason I detest email mostly. Nobody has time to read the series of email reply alls that you happened to walk into but have nothing to do with you. Worse yet, you almost always enter into the reply all chain late to the party spending ten minutes of your time going back to see the skinny when a simple update using an internal social network or project management thread would have just been fine to do.

An Ode to Premature Electronic Distribution

But what I hate most, the most embarassing thing is what I like to call premature electronic distribution. Yes, premature electronic distribution or PED for short is when you send that long winded email too soon before you finish your thought, add an attachment or really complete a full thought. We’re busy. I’m folding laundry while building a webinar and packing my kid’s school lunch. There’s nothing worse than sending a messed up email about PED aside from the dreaded recall email that you sometimes see. Personally, I don’t send the recall email. I simply just accept the humiliation and send a follow up email with the subject line, “Premature Electronic Distribution.” It’s sure to get read, opened and a response 100% of the time. Guaranteed.

PED rears its head in the form of unfiltered photos on Instagram, Snapchat pictures you wished you didn’t send and the dreaded meeting invite you sent with the wrong time, meeting location or date on two separate occasions.

Planned electronic distributions of the annoying variety are something I’m also not a fan. Things like automated direct messages which you can receive regardless of if you are following that person on Twitter or not. I hope that Twitter gets an electronic spam filtering system similar to Facebook’s. Because if you need some entertainment, I suggest you check in “other messages” inbox on Facebook by selecting messages, then the other tab at the top of your screen. You’ll seen some gems including marriage proposals, affiliate requests and apparently an invitation to stop by a HR technology product’s booth at the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month. Maybe if they send out their messages now, it will guarantee that I find them in time for next year’s event.

facebook-marketing-failWhile I labeled this lovely gem spam on LinkedIn you see below, I get an assortment of these every single day. This one asks if I eat at Perkins which sadly, I haven’t for a few years. Certainly, this LinkedIn message will change my mind most definitely. Personally, I’d love to see some examples from Stacy Zapar who is the most connected woman on LinkedIn and the kind of LinkedIn messages she is receiving.


 Solution to Spam and Unsolicited Emails and Social Messaging

Sometimes the shiny gems of spam and unsolicited electronic communication are just too good to ignore or maybe I’m just a passive aggressive blogger who receives an upwards of 600 emails a day mostly pitches and random emails that have absolutely have nothing to do with my blog. Ignoring them is generally what I do using email filters and tools like, but sometimes enough is enough. One of my favorite bloggers, the Bloggess has the right strategy when dealing with excessive spam and the incessant PR pitching that comes with being a well-known blog. She sends them a single link in an email reply that includes a picture of Will Wheaten collating.


Putting actual work into a blog post or a web page reserved just for the spammy spamersons isn’t really my style. I kinda think that it means that they win. My solution, I just respond either with obscenities, sarcasm or call them by a different name. Sometimes it’s all of the above. For example, I received an email from David last week calling me Jennifer which is better than just “Dear Blogging4Jobs.” I responded with the following:

Dear Roberto,

Thank you so much for thinking of me when pitching your story about teen mobile gaming for my blog. I’m certain you knew my audience were Coach carrying and scarf wearing HR ladies so it totally resonates with them in a business professional corporate sort of way. Working in HR, I don’t have time for games. My days are filled firing employees and monitoring all electronic communications of the employee population. Sadly I won’t be writing about your new tween game that I’m certain will revolutionize the industry. I just don’t have enough shit to do. Really.

I appreciate your attention to detail but I will sadly have to decline. Our editorial calendar is currently full. Maybe next time.

Sincerely, Angela

Electronic technology and messaging is great until we reach communication fatigue, and unfortunately I miss out on messages, phone calls and other communications from people that are super important to me. I don’t see this trend stopping so if I get a few laughs from our friend technology, I really think it’s okay.

Learn more about mobile technology trends for HR & recruiting by joining our webinar 11/21 at 11 AM EST. Register here

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jacob Share says

    I think that if Twitter was ever going to give us spam filters, they would have done it by now. Instead, they prefer to handle it internally to the detriment of us all. Yes, you can can indicate when a DM is spam in e.g. TweetDeck, but it’s non-intuitive and who knows if it actually does anything since Twitter provides no transparency on this topic (not that they’re alone there).


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