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February 23, 2007

(no subject)

"(no subject)" being the header of mail that made its way around Google's spam filter and into my in-box this morning. Intrusive spamming email. Check. No indication how these people came up with my email address or the fact I run a blog. Check. So enthralled with my opinion they made no effort to find out my name let alone the name of my blog. Check.* Note the peculiar minimum age range for adolescence settled upon by the University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. Remember this the next time you read about a survey, opinion poll or any claims whatsoever made by an academic psychology department.

Dear blogger,

We would like to invite you to participate in a research study that investigates blogging practices, motives for blogging and the ways in which people explore their identity through blogging. This research is being conducted by Associate Professor Ann Knowles (principal researcher) and Ms Danielle Williamson at the Faculty of Life and Social Sciences at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.

Your involvement in this research will contribute to increasing psychologists' understanding of blogging, as well as our understanding of the period of life between adolescence and adulthood.

Participation in this study involves completing an online questionnaire, which will take approximately 20 minutes. Your response is totally anonymous and confidential. The questionnaire is located at: http://opinio.online.swin.edu.au/s?s=1847.

To participate in this study you must be over 18 years old and have a blog that is at least one month old, that you update at least monthly. Further details of this study, including the complaints procedure, are provided at the beginning of the questionnaire.

If you have any queries regarding this research, please contact either Ann Knowles (aknowles@groupwise.swin.edu.au) or Danielle Williamson (Danielle.Williamson@justice.vic.gov.au).

Thank you very much for your time. Your completion of the questionnaire would be greatly appreciated. If you know of other people who maintain a blog that may be interested in completing this questionnaire, please forward them this email invitation.

Yours Sincerely,

Danielle Williamson

Faculty of Life and Social Sciences
Swinburne University of Technology

For your edification, my reply. I will keep you posted on developments in updates to this post.

Dear researcher,

Why would I want to contribute to increasing psychologists' understanding of blogging?



* But wait: There's a cherry on top! Having got hold of my email address somehow and having asked for twenty minutes of my life with no remuneration offered for the trouble these high-handed (swearing deleted) append the following to their email. Normally I would strip even a spam email of names and addresses. I am making an exception.

PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL The content of this e-mail and any attachments may be private and confidential, intended only for use of the individual or entity named. If you are not the intended recipient of this message you must not read, forward, print, copy, disclose, use or store in any way the information this e-mail or any attachment contains. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately and delete or destroy all copies of this e-mail and any attachments. Our organisation respects the privacy of individuals. For a copy of our privacy policy please go to our website or contact us.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at February 23, 2007 07:14 AM


So I guess you just need to be a blogger to read that e-mail.

Posted by: Montieth [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2007 08:25 AM

Exactly. I love it that their unsolicited, intrusive and arrogant spam email includes a disclaimer meant to be legally binding to persons un-named in another hemisphere.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2007 09:30 AM

I am looking at the Swinburne University of Technology privacy policy at their HR site (warning: may try to install new Java environment) and it appears to have no application to this communication whatsoever. In fact, I see nothing in their privacy policy that protects the privacy of people with no connection to the University. Perhaps the psych department ethics committee could help me out with that.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2007 09:36 AM

I got that too and happily deleted it.

Posted by: agent bedhead [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2007 10:34 AM

I want to know who they bought their mailing list from. Beyond that, and with a passing nod to science, I am wondering what possible sample they are going to come up with. Most real, old-school bloggers I know would come up on some inventive variation of your response or my response.

And have these people never received a penis-enlargement pill ad? No subject header, no personalized addressee, not even a capital letter for the "B" in blogger. The only thing separating this communication from a Nigerian banking scam is spelling and the fact the Nigerian banking scams probably get a better response rate.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2007 10:40 AM

I could swear that's the same email that made the rounds a couple of years ago. (I got it when I was on another computer so I don't have a copy of it. But the whole "blogging research" thing rang a bell.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2007 11:11 AM