Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Fool's Magic

Have you ever gotten these FWD:FWD:FWD:FWD:FWD: in your hotmail, facebook or friendster?

Find the error: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Did you know that 80% people could not find the error above? Repost this with the title "Find the error, its impossible", and when you click "Submit Post", the answer will be really obvious.
Forward this message to 50 friends in your contact list and you will have a new design in your profile!
Magic. When u hit the forward button, u'll see the person who views ur profile the most...try it...
I am sure many of us have followed those instructions, secretly wishing that the promise would come true. And many among us would also have counted 1 to 20 one hundred times, trying to find the nuanced abnormality that might have been missed in the previous attempts.

If you haven't realised, many of these things are simply "viral mails". Their very reason of existence is to propagate throughout the cyberspace via people's naivety, wasting people's time in the process. They are what we call mindless "memes", nothing more, nothing less.

We tell ourselves, "Hehe, I am going to find out the answer then challenge my friend and show off how smart I am". And ten minutes later, we give up and click "submit post", turning ourselves into the vector of the meme in the process.

The key to those memes' success is that nobody actually bothers asking or verifying with others when the promised magic doesn't happen. Everyone is afraid of being laughed at. They thought they are the only person around who has made stupid mistakes.

Essentially, this whole phenomenon is quite similar to the famed emperor's new clothes. They are the same old psychological manipulation with a modern twist.


day-dreamer said...

Well, I did doubt about it before I tried forwarding but once or twice after it didn't work, I knew it was fake. And I hadn't been forwarding mail since dunno when. Haha.

Xon said...

nah,i dont think i ever tried that. hmmm. weirdo.

i never succumb myself to chain letter ot chain email...unless i think the content is meaningful...

meaningful in the sense of really inspiring. =)

changyang1230 said...

day-dreamer: Haha yeah I probably tried one or two times too before I stopped bothering with any of them. :P

xon: Same here.