Joe Lavin's Humor Column
Urgent: This is Not Spam
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According to Nucleus Research, the average employee receives 13.3 pieces of spam a day and spends an average of 6.5 minutes deleting those messages. Basically, that means that each employee is spending almost thirty seconds to delete each piece of unwanted e-mail. I don't know about you, but I can usually delete my spam in under five seconds -- ten seconds for legitimate e-mail. What's taking these people so long?
Apparently, there are actually some who spend up to 90 minutes a day dealing with spam, which makes one wonder if workers are quite so angered about this as their employers. Perhaps there are some who view another e-mail from Nigeria offering $20 million as a welcome respite from the workday rather than a nuisance.
It is possible that soon better filters will eliminate most of our spam and free up those six and a half minutes a day for other pursuits. (Forwarding chain e-mail, perhaps?) The real problem will be the false positives -- the normal e-mails that are blocked by filters. Pity the poor doctor who actually has to send a legitimate e-mail about viagra.
"I marked it urgent. I don't know how you could have missed it."
Granted, spam is a serious problem, and I don't mean to defend it. I just find it tough to get worked up over. Years ago, employees wasted hours wrestling with typewriters and carbon paper. Now, we lose a few minutes a day from spam. In the end, we probably come out ahead.
By the way, Nucleus Research came up with the $874 by figuring out that we spend 1.4% of a 40-hour workweek dealing with spam at an average pay of $30 an hour. Using similar methods, we can also determine that:
©2003 Joe Lavin