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With eyes as big as saucer spams

2006 March 15

I’ve heard about IM spam, but I’ve never seen it myself – well, until this morning, that is. I should begin by providing some background. I am logged on to IM whenever I’m on my computer. I do much project collaboration, casual work-related housekeeping, and socializing (yep, I’ll admit it). I use Gaim, allowing me to access the many services from one interface. By ‘services’ I mean that I have screennames for AIM, Yahoo Messenger, MSN messenger, and ICQ. ICQ was my first, but the one I use the least now. When I did use it regularly, I did so with their client and received many unsolicited pings – regardless of my privacy settings. This went away with the introduction of Gaim.

But this morning, returning to my desk , coffee in hand, I found:

(08:15:43) 160282527: Hi, it’s me. I forgot my UIN’s password, and now I’m here 😉 Add me please..
(08:15:50) 160282527: It’s my new ICQ, I fogot my password… How are you?

At this point, I’m madly filtering through a long parade of names and faces, who this could be? Long lost friends who might use emoticons, flakeily lose their passwords, and have dubious spelling skills. Got it! Michael! Of course! But there’s an order to these things, a procedure, I must check:

(08:18:12) Lichen: Who’s me?
(08:18:12) 160282527: Yesterday I’d found a site with job offer, it’s work what you want. Look it –

BAH! I’ve been had!

I did a few searches – but did not look at the website they pushed on me – and couldn’t find anything about this particular attempt.

Here’s the big question, though – how will this play out in the lifecycle of IM for communication? For me, it’ll be ignored/deleted without a second thought or missing a beat. BUT what about the librarians to whom I’m trying to promote this tool? The ones who still call me when a spam makes it through their email filters? How can I anticipate and deflect that kind of argument? For now, I simply won’t recommend ICQ (which I wouldn’t have done anyway). Other than that, I suppose I’ll wait and see.

Aside: The title for this post is a joke about a joke. When my younger brother was little, instead of saying ‘eyes as big as saucers’, he’d say ‘eyes as big as saucer pans.’ I don’t know where he picked either up, but it makes me laugh to this day. AND I got through this entire post before I realized no one beside me and my immediate family would get the joke.

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