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Saturday, November 28, 2009

What Do You Think? (about comments and emails)

************* warning: RANT *************

In case you were wondering, I read all of your comments, even on older posts (unless the system fails and doesn’t notify me, which does happen occasionally).

When I see a new name, I usually follow the link. I am always interested to know who is reading my blog and how they got here.

Every once in a while I receive a comment that turns out to be a “front” for some business. I follow the link and find a business website, rather than a real person.

I always delete those comments. If people want to advertise on my blog, they can contact me and make me an offer. But writing a comment, as if they care, when they are just looking for free advertising… that’s just wrong.

Last week, I received an email, following my post about mobile phones.

The email began friendly enough:
When I visited my childhood best friend Debbie in Tel Aviv about 10 years ago she told me then Israel was the most cell phone connected country. I know from your blog you’re fighting metastatic breast cancer—to the brain. Any chance you’d give up using your cell phone for your health? The frequencies they give off are not good for children’s brains and mostly likely not yours either.
She includes several links and a bit more diatribe, and then she gets to the sales pitch:
I am sensitive to the computers and TV’s. So due to this sensitivity I wear a [commercial product]*, which helps my body deal with background radiation and frequencies that are not in harmony with nature and living things.
*no free advertising here
She then includes a link to the product and indicates which one she uses.

Then she adds, in closing:
Just thought I would bring it up. Our family business here in Washington State has been doing mastectomy fitting for over 30 years and there are just some practices that are too risky for people fighting for their lives.
[Name] (child of two Hungarian Holocaust survivors)

I wrote her the following, brief response:
Please don't send me business promotions.
To which she responded:
You have a lot of nerve to respond in this manner to my email. I never sent you any *business promotions* or made any mention of selling anything to you. I sent you information about protecting yourself from ionizing radiation to your brain since you have cancer there already. After 30 years of helping women who have had metastatic breast cancer and even losing my dear sister-in-law at age 36 [who presented with two different primary breast cancers within a year of each other] to the disease, I believe I know some things about the women who have changed their lives to survive. Sorry you misinterpret things so badly.

Was it my imagination??

I wrote back:
You sent me an advertisement for a product.
That is SPAM.
I am sorry for your loss, but that does not give you the right to be rude to me.
I am bombarded with emails from people who are promoting their product.
I am just not interested in your business.
I thought I was being polite, and to the point.
Guess what, she wrote back again!
So what if I told you about a product. It was to help you—not for me to make any money. I don’t even know if the [product] is sold in Israel. I have given many of them just to help people in front of their computer. You have a problem that you only see the bad in people. I feel really sorry for you.
Do I need this?

I knew I should not respond, but I could not ignore her.  I wrote one more brief note:

please stop insulting me.

you do not know me at all.

if you have nothing nice to say, please do not write me again.
Am I out of my mind or is she a crazy woman?

It sure seemed to me, from what she wrote in her initial emails, that the business was hers. Even if it is not (as she seems to indicate in her final email, though I am still suspicious, due to her aggressive and insulting tone), asking her to refrain from sending business promotions hardly seems offensive to me.

Why do people feel they have a right to be so horribly judgmental and rude?

A friend of mine just closed her blog because of people who sent her mean letters. I did not understand, until now.

How can someone be so nasty?

Most significantly, why is it so hurtful to me, when I don’t even know the person and she means nothing to me??

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


adena said...

argh! one thing about the internet and email is that it is very easy to say things that you wouldn't normally say because you are so anonymous...I think that responding to her is futile...my advice is, conserve your energy and use it for important things! this is not important!

Anonymous said...

It didn't come across as an advertisement to me. Maybe I'm just a freier.

Shevy said...

I don't know the truth of her situation but, reading it as an outsider, I don't think she was emailing you (or posting a comment? sorry, unclear if this was initially a comment or not) to sell you something.

I think she works with a lot of women who have breast cancer and probably feels compelled to talk to every woman she comes across with breast cancer about this issue. You just happen to be on the Net rather than a parent at school, a neighbour or a person coming in for a mastectomy fitting.

You know the whole thing about when you're a hammer everything looks a lot like a nail? I think it's that, rather than her trying to get free advertising or make a sale, if her company actually sells whatever she was talking about.

Don't you get a lot of people writing to you or coming up to you IRL to bend your ear about changing your diet or taking specific nutritional supplements or having hypnosis or taking X drug as opposed to Y drug?

If you're not interested, just say "Thanks, but my doctors and I have my treatment under control, including any alternatives." I mean, nobody can do everything that will be suggested to them and different folks are drawn to different types of treatments. You have to do what's right for you.

But I don't think getting into this dialogue with her is helping either of you.

Anonymous said...

I think what probably started off the whole sheebang wrong is that she started out her comment by being judgemental of your cell phone use... as if you caused your cancer to come on yourself. That's what caught my eye first thing! It's like she was telling someone to lay off the cigarettes, who has lung cancer. I didn't like that tone from her & it would have set me off to really rip into her, right off the bat.

So, regardless of whether or not she was selling something or had a hidden agenda or not really isn't the point to me. The fact that she started her comment with a judgemental uppity attitude would have been enough for me to lay into her. I'm glad you did, RivkA! Go you!! *hug*

Love ya~ Andrea

Anonymous said...

If youfind her comments offensive put her email address on your junk mail list after the first email. Ariela

Batya said...

I agree that it's annoying. I generally ignore or delete without any follow-up. A lot of these spam comments get to us, because they have google searching according to "key words."

And I too try to visit all the commenters, especially the new ones. And I recommend to those who want more hits on their blogs to visit and comment on others.

PS I'll be hosting the next Havel Havelim, so please send in your posts!

Gail said...

RivkA- I admire how you've been able to make your blog so open - I keep a low profile about mine even though I started it to be more out there. It's a fine line figuring out how we want to relate to all these people in cyberspace whom we don't know. Much love and healing today! Shavua tov!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that is looks suspicious that she was promoting a magical anti background radiation and frequency suite. Like it was one of those magical potions people used to sell. In any case she comes across as not so kosher, and I don't think that your response was unrespectful. If she was just sharing with you, she wouldn't have been so defensive!
Ellen L

RivkA with a capital A said...

Adena -- I know. So why is it so difficult?

Anon -- don't know who you are, so I can't tell

Shevy -- I thought I did send her a polite "thanks, but I'm not interested." OK, maybe I forgot the "thanks."

What upset me was not the solicitation, but the rude way she responded when I wrote that I was not interested.

Andrea -- That's an interesting perspective. I did not think of it, but you might be correct. Maybe that's why I responded in such a curt manner (leaving out the "thanks," as I mentioned above).

Ariela -- I don't know how to do that. I have never been harrassed like that before.

Batya -- do I have to send something in??? can't you just choose something??? so many things to do. "*sigh*

Gail -- Good luck finding your on-line voice!
What and how to post, especially when you are not anonymous, is the topic for at least a full post! Luckily, Hannah, at Mother in Israel wrote about it: Advice for Beginning Bloggers: Blog Under Your Real Name -- the comments are as interesting as the post!

Ellen L -- thanks. that's what I felt

arnie draiman said...

hi rivka,

i am troubled not by what you have written, but how you have written it. i can help. i offer to you my creative writing services, for a fee, of course. and anyone who needs to contact me about writing, editing, translating, decorating, personal shopping, haircutting, choosing the right fish from the marketplace, pizza delivery, bank fees, sewing, babysitting, and now, new to our services, explaining old tv shows to our children.

be in touch. this is NOT an advertisement of services. i'm just saying...

Anonymous said...

I think it hurts when strangers behave badly to us because most of us (all?) want to be liked. We don't want anyone to think badly of us.

Since in this case you ended up feeling worse and worse each time the other side acted in a pushy, negative way, perhaps next time you should just delete and not try to educate the jerk on the other end of the spam?

Anonymous said...

Hi Rivka,
What bothers me is her suggestion that perhaps you dont know about her amazing product and how it is so helpful to the brain. I would think that she would realize that from your intelligent posts (if she were a reader and not a lurker) is that you are probably more aware of every helpful product out there than she is. A person who is ill, normally wants to do whatever they can to get better, and part of that is educating oneself.
I would have said thanks for the thought, but then you run the risk of her telling you how much better her product is than anything you could find.
Dont let her aggravate you. Life is too short for this garbage. By the way, I have a great product in mind for aggravation.....

mikimi said...

there are jerks out there and there are people who really care. the trick is in identifying which is which.

mother in israel said...

RivkA, you are totally right. 100%. I get helpful sounding comments and before posting them, I check the URL of the site. A key is that they are written on older posts, found via search. The website is selling a product mentioned in the post. Anon is right, just delete and ignore. There is no point getting into an argument with these people.

westbankmama said...

RivkA - You are completely correct - this woman has the sensitivity of pond scum. Not worth your agravation...

Anonymous said...

I think you missed the point.

RivkA with a capital A said...

Arnie -- LOL!!

Anon (2:13) -- It's interesting that we are programmed to want people to like us. Why should we care if a stranger likes us or not? But we do.

Denise -- Truthfully, I do not waste my time researching all the "snake oil" being sold. I never heard of her product, nor am I interested in it.

Mikimi -- true. but since we try to be "dan l'kav z'chut," (assuming best intentions) sometimes we get burnt a few times before recognizing some of the jerks.

Mother in Israel -- Thanks for the affirmation.

West Bank Mama -- ditto.

ABH -- he was kidding!

Ilana said...

What Shevy said! I think it is possible to read this woman's comments with benefit of the doubt. Even if there's a 5% chance she *wasn't" spamming you, give her the benefit of the doubt. You'll be happier and waste less emotional energy.

Unknown said...

It bothers me when people get upset and hurt so my warmest suggestion is... when in doubt, use the delete button. IMO she doesn't know you and you don't know her and it was unclear what her goal was with her original e mail. Who knows, she could be a very nice person with an unstable mental condition? Or a lonely lady trying to catch your attention? Or a mean person? Or a man? Or a 13 year old kid? She could be anyone... it just isn't worth your precious time or pain.

Warmest wishes, thoughts, and prayers to you RivkA!

RivkA with a capital A said...

Square Peg - I did give her the benefit of the doubt. Only after she attacked me, did I get upset.

After that, the only way to give her the benefit of the doubt is to apply Erika's insight: perhaps she is mentally unstable or a very lonely woman who needs attention.

Erika - (see above comment)

Unknown said...

You are right but there is no point to responding to them. Don't get into a dialogue with them. Just delete and move on.

Send my love to the kids.

Sandi said...

She was definately selling something. I delete those, too.

I have an better story. After my husband died I received a sympathy card from a name I didn't recognize, but I got several from people who knew my husband before we met, so didn't think much of it.

It started nicely enought. Then as I read it became clear it was from a stranger who was trying to recruit me into her cult/religion.

Aviad2001 said...

i don't think she was trying to sell you something. It wouldn't be a very efficient way of marketing a product, to follow people's websites and then send them a sales pitch.

RivkA with a capital A said...

Davidz -- thanks. will do.

Sandi -- what a wierd story!

Aviad/Yosef -- I do not know how efficient it is for marketing a product, but it is certainly common practice. Bloggers frequently receive comments advertising products. So, clearly companies do feel it is worth their time.

Search engines also make this process much easier and more efficient.

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