I’m a total sucker, perhaps. I get a lot of emails through the ‘contact us’ link on the blog, and they’re all more or less the same.
“I came across your blog and really love the content. [Ah yes, the unnamed ‘content.’] I’m an aspiring [writer/blogger/editor/cat fancier/pedophile] and was wondering if you would be interested in [sharing a link/publishing a post of mine/shilling a product/promoting a website].”
Now here’s the sucker part. I respond to every single one.
The result has, so far, been pretty uniform. Either A) I receive some generic piece of written twaddle that I wouldn’t use as toilet paper, much less publish on my blog, or B) I ask for a link to the website in question to see if it passes the sniff test and get a series of responses that don’t include the link.
These emails always come from a named individual with a Gmail account, are friendly and conversational in tone, and sound vaguely unscrupulous. Here’s an excerpt from a recent one from a certain ‘Marie’:
“I am curious what it would take for you to consider adding a small link to the page that goes to a website that is focused on helping people with the entire moving process.“
Hmm, how about a back rub, a gold leatherette love seat, and $10,000 in small bills? And what the hell is a ‘small link’? Are some links larger than others? Anyway, I wrote back asking for a link to the website in question. Never heard back from Marie.
So when I saw the latest “Contact us” emails in my inbox, I expected the worst. But these two were somewhat different.
The first was from a woman named Rebecca who runs a scavenger hunt website. Yes, that’s right, scavenger hunts. I’ve done them with kids before, and they’re always good fun. Rebecca simply asked if I’d be willing to share the site with my readers. It’s called Scavenger Hunt Guru, and it looks like a great resource for those interested in, well, scavenger hunts. Rebecca, consider it shared.
The second came from a certain ‘cupcakes357’ and started off badly. “I came across your blog on wordpress and enjoyed the content.” Uh oh. “I have a bit of a question/request.” Go on. “I just started a blog myself.” Oh dear God.
But then Cupcakes defied my expectations. “The purpose of my blog is to collect answers from children. I want kids to tell me what their one wish for the world is. If they could close their eyes and wave a magic wand and have one thing in the world be different, what would it be?”
Hmm, kind of intriguing. Cupcakes has large ambitions. From the blog:
I decided to start this “i have one wish” blog, to encourage people to share one wish they have for the world with others, using the internet as a public forum. My hope is that this will become a space that brings people together – an optimistic space for people to share their wishes. It is also my hope that as more people from different parts of the world share their one wish for the world, we will start to see some common themes, and that at the end of the day, this blog will highlight the ways in which we are not so different from each other after all.
I don’t know if his or her ambitions will be realized, but Cupcakes seems like a good soul who’s trying to do something worthwhile, so I have to applaud that and help a little bit if I can.
So, if you happen to have (or can borrow) some kids, why not ask them this simple question – If you had one wish to make the world different, what would it be? You can visit Cupcake’s blog to share your answers, or feel free to write them in the comments here and I’ll pass them on.
Well, there’s my good deed for the day done. Now I can go for a bike ride so I won’t look flabby strutting down the beach in my birthday suit. Ah, you thought I’d forgotten, huh? Not a chance.