Monday, 5 November 2012

SPAMGUARD

A few mornings ago, I heard a sound alert on my phone that indicated that I had an email but I ignored it. After a while, I heard another alert, indicating that another email had just come in so I picked my phone and saw that the emails were notifications of comments on two articles on this blog. One of them was by an anonymous person and I already suspected what it would be.
I was right. The anonymous comment was a spam comment, one of which I've been getting somewhat frequently, lately. Usually, links leading to phishing sites are embedded in them. Luckily, blogger recognizes them and moves them to the spam folder. Unfortunately, other times, anonymous comments that are 'clean' get moved to the same folder and I would have to move them out of that folder before they can appear on the post.

After I deleted the spam, I went back to the dishes I was doing and soon my mind drifted back to those annoying spam comments. I was grateful for the fact that blogger had a spam guard of sorts just like my email accounts do. I tried to imagine what it would have been like if there was nothing preventing those virulent links from being unleashed on anyone who clicked on them, while on my blog. I wondered, at the time, why some people would go to any length just to force some harmful or completely inane stuff on others.
I do not want my computer infected with some malware.
I most certainly do not want anyone forcing pornography on me.
I do not want to purchase some physique-enhancing drugs.
I do not want to visit sites with dubious content.
In summary, I do not want anything they're offering because if it were alright, they won't resort to such antics to sell them.
That was the rant in my head.

It occurred to me soon afterwards how alike my heart and my online accounts really are. While I was grateful for the fact that there are applications that prevent spam into those accounts and measures that can sort them out when they do intrude, I wondered why the applications that prevent spam from entering my heart and my life are a lot of the time sometimes, turned off.
Before my email accounts can effectively ward off spam, I have to turn the spam guard on. So is it also with my heart and my life. I thought at that moment how silly it really is to take all measures to protect things that do not matter, in the grand scheme of things, while ignoring the master plan of life.

If any spam mail does get into my inbox, I mark it as spam and it's reported as such. Most times, I never get that kind of mail in my inbox again. However, I have laughed at jokes that did not enhance my life in any way. I have also just ignored them when I could have simply indicated that they didn't do anything positive for me.
I realized that, in a lot of ways, I have let spam of the worst kind into my life through lack of a deliberate action to keep them out.

I have taken part in and, so many times, thoroughly enjoyed conversations that were gossip spam, no matter how petty they were. Yes, I love 'gist' and I have a few close friends I enjoy 'gisting' with ;) Of course, it's never with malicious intent and often, something amusing-in-a-very-silly-way happens and we just have to talk about it with glee and dissect the motives behind them... even when we're completely clueless about the true situation.
I ask myself now, "After thoroughly enjoying conversations like that, what next?" Life goes on, right?... With information that I truly do not need taking up space in my head.

The numerous social media have encouraged spam in a lot of ways too. In a bid to be cool or pseudo-popular, while hiding behind the mask of a screen, a lot of silliness is encouraged. It almost seems like there's a desperate competition to express wit and verbosity, especially at the expense of other people. There are 'wars' on various screens, between people who may not even know each other personally. Sadly, we are entertained as we move from one conversation to the other, garnering fodder for gossip.... and introducing ugly spam, from people we may never know, into our lives.

Whenever I go to a child’s birthday party, it is norm to watch dancing competitions between children. Unlike the wriggling and arm-waving children are known for, most of the kids at these parties dance provocatively, with adults unashamedly cheering them on. It saddens me each time I see that the one chosen by the audience as the winner is the one who danced most like an adult on a go-get-him-at-all-costs mission would. Yes, almost all the time it’s the girls that win because it is the girls that best imitate those raunchy moves they see on music videos.

In our bid to be entertained for a short while, we forget that these are little girls who are in danger of being molested by some crazy adult who, just maybe, is in the audience, either as a friend or a stranger.
These are little girls whom we as mothers and fathers, aunties and uncles should protect. Yet, in our bid to keep up with the Joneses, we leave them at the mercy of the world. We do not protect them enough, no matter what horror stories we have heard in the past. Could this be because we never want to imagine that such horror could befall us? 
As adults, it is our business, at the end of the day, what spam we choose to allow into our lives. However, when children are dragged into that mess, we definitely need to re-evaluate what our priorities are.

Just like my email mistakenly sends ‘good’ mails to the spam folder, so should we screen anything new or suspect till we’re sure that they pose no danger.
In your bid to make friends with all and sundry, it is important to know that not all who go by that name are actually friends.
Not every joke is a joke, no matter how funny it sounds. Does that make sense? I’m still trying to get that part too.
Not every gathering is for you. Be tagged a party pooper. That's perfectly alright because if it's not for you, then, it's not for you. It's as simple as that, really. Can you dare to be different?
The fact that you always have done things a particular way doesn't make that the right way of doing them. Therefore, the fact that, somehow, spam of some kind has entered your life doesn't mean that it has to stay there.

In this crazy-for-eye-popping-news world, we should always remember that not every internet link or broadcast, no matter how viral they've gone, should be passed on.
Not every story, no matter how exciting or amusing it sounds, has to be re-told.
Have you ever considered the fact that some people have imaginations that do not need to dwell on negativity?
Have you ever thought of the fact the each of us has a struggle and you could be hindering someone's healing by what you choose to share?
Have you ever stopped to think, before you press 'send', of the effect of what you want to share?
These are questions I have now asked myself and I'm ashamed to realized that my answer to each was 'no'.

It is solely your responsibility to guard your mind and your life because there are people out there who want to force their lives, attitudes and beliefs on you, as soon as they realize that the gates are open.

It is also a huge responsibility that you have, not to bring spam of any sort into other people's lives.

A lot of the time, though, it is difficult to know, just by myself what to allow in or leave out. Just as Blogger and my email accounts recognize spam for what it is and filters it for me, so also does the One who on whose platform my life is built.
Just as it is my choice to turn on the filters, in order to have an effective spam guard, so is it my choice to cede control to Him who separates the chaff from the wheat with His winnowing fork.






16 comments:

  1. Food for serious tot nne! 2 thumbs up....

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  2. My dear,you have hit the nail on the spot with this particular blog aptly titled spam guard,we are now a generation of spam infiteration,everything is acceptable now once it is keeping up with the whoever is rolling @ the time,I find with you on the kid party dancing scenes and I blame parents solely for that sort of exhibiton,we have become parents of nowadays and later we cry na umuaka n'emebizi osiso ugbua,I pray for God's wisdom and confidence to return to parents,and they decide to pick up the mantle of spamguard in their lives which in turn will transcend to their children,it is well with all of us as we all fall short of the glory sometimes and in different things,Lord help us all.

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  3. Ola your articles are always on point. This really got me thinking.... Cos I hv encouraged somethings which I shldnt have by my inaction. Just like you said its our choice to turn on the filters to get an effective SPAM GUarD.

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  4. Wow! I have really been blessed. In this age and time, we need to dare to be different and guard our hearts jealously and with all diligence. God bless you Ola x

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  5. Ng; Thanks, dear. Food for thought for me too.

    Adaobi X; Exactly! Umuaka na-emebi osiso ugbua, simply becasue we let them. There's nothing to add to that, really. Thanks, dear.

    Ify; We're all in the same boat, jare. I'm also guilty of turning that spamguard off. However, we can remedy that, can't we? ;)

    Ezinne; Thank you! God bless you too. Daring to be different... That's so important in the process of turning on an effective spam guard.

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  6. Wow! So on point. I really liked the way you drew us into the matter. In these times when the pressure to be popular has reached astronomical heights, a serious evaluation of personal values and a determination to stay true to those values, has become imperative.

    Thanks for this.

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  7. Chemo's Symphonies; Thank you! :) True, one has to know what they believe in first before working towards making that belief a part of their lives. Food for thought....

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  8. Wondering why I didn't find this blog all this while. You have given me food for thoughts. Normally I scan through long posts, but I couldn't help digesting everything here.

    I need a spam guard right now because I love juicy gossip a lot!
    Nice blog, I am now your follower.

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  9. Hi, following you on twitter too.

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  10. Eya; Thanks :) So, you love to 'gist' too? ℓσℓ! My sister, no be only you, jare. Spamguard for us all ;)
    Following you right back :)

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  11. Inthemidstofher; ℓσℓ!

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  12. I had s conversation with someone a while back and in the end I realized that I had for that moment become a part of the gossip crew even though my original intent was to have a harmless conversation. In the end I made up my mind to avoid having long conversations with this person as I didn't feel right abt what had jst gone on... You r right abt people eager to suck us into their gossip hole and it is important to discern quickly so that we don't end up causing more harm with our speech than has already bn done... Thanks 4 sharing

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  13. xflashinLITESx;You're welcome :)
    You know what, sometimes, we're the ones that drag others into gossip, when 'harmless'conversations become about other people. It's really hard to withstand the lure of 'sweet gist' sha but we can, eh? ;)

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  14. blessings and happy new year....

    Much like life the is always gabbage/spam to filter.

    peace
    Rhapsody
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  15. Rhapsody B; Thanks so much for dropping by.
    May God grant you a fantastic year, in Jesus Name, Amen

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