I want to support children in Greece. And I trust SOS Children’s Villages. My family sponsors a child through them. But I dislike this campaign:

It wants me to email my friends telling them about the campaign. Not to ask them for money, just to ask them to email their friends about it. Apollo, a travel agent that does lots of business selling Norwegians summer holidays in Greece, will donate 10 kr to the campaign to help children in Greece for each of my friends who joins the campaign by sending their friends emails asking them to join the campaign too. My friends wouldn’t be asked to donate money to children in Greece. But by participating, SOS Children’s Villages gets their names on a mailing list and will send them emails in future.

I get that this might be a good way of increasing a mailing list while Apollo gets advertisements, but I *hate* chain mail so much there’s no way I’m forwarding this to friends. So instead I’ve donated directly to SOS Children’s Villages work for children in Greece, and I’d encourage you to do so too.

For international readers, look at SOS Children’s Villages website for your country.

I wonder whether campaigns like this one work. They probably do. Although everyone I speak to hates chain mail, it keeps being sent, so obviously works at some level… Does the campaign give you the creeps, or is it just me?

4 thoughts on “Chain mail campaigns make me hate social media

  1. Thomas

    Your reaction is really interesting. I did not percieve this as chain-mail, but as ordinary advertising and a clever way to extend the reach of a campaign.

    When I think of chain-mail there is usually some sort of implied punishment involved (send this on or you’ll go to jail), but in this case it is completely open (although many people will probably overlook the Apollo connection) and a good way to spread information.

    I, personally, would be very careful about who I would send this too, but I might if I thought people i know where likely to be interested and even looking for a way to support the cause.

    I realize that I would be very annoyed if the campaign where a commercial one, like from McD’s or suchlike, but I manage to separate messages when I get them in the paper-mail, so why not when I get the same type of message mix online?

    1. Jill

      Yes, I was wondering whether my reaction was unusual, and perhaps it is. I am quite happy to spread the campaign on Facebook and on my blog, but really dislike the idea of forcing it onto my friends. Also, I dislike that I’m basically selling my friends’ contact information – 10 kr an email address. Although they CAN opt out, the email is sent through the campaign website, so obviously the emails are tracked and probably stored.

      Maybe my response is anachronistic? Not sure.

  2. Jeinine

    Nope, I hear what you’re saying, Jill.

    Your’s is a trust-worthy name amongst your friends, colleagues, co-workers, etc. So, surely, if you “pass along” their email address to even inquire about the campaign, some travel agent makes a buck. You’re doing the leg work for someone else.

    Raising awareness is one thing – so why aren’t you being compensated for spreading the info instead of Apollo?

  3. Clare Hooper

    Yeah, I’m with you on this one, Jill — I feel really uncomfortable about this kind of thing, perhaps because I feel so conscious myself of information overload. The last thing I want to do is be perceived as spamming my friends with more things (unless, of course, I’m passionate about it — but then I wouldn’t be hitting forward on something, but writing myself, you know?).

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