Saturday, November 6, 2010

Week 5 Midterm: What is the origin of the word “Spam”?

Spam is a word referred to on the internet as a mass message sent out to multiple recipients from a source that is trying to get you to buy their goods, scam you, or collect email addresses. There are many speculations as to who came up with the word "spam" and what it means exactly. after researching on the internet I have found a few interesting claims about the origin of the word "spam". Some say it is an acronym meaning "Shit Posing As Mail or Stupid Boring Annoying Messages" ( Others say it has to do with downloading images. Often times people would try to download a picture of a naked woman and when they viewed the image it turned out to be only a picture of a can of spam. In our book, it explains a different story about the word's origin."The term spam comes from a Monty Python skit in which every item on a menu contained Spam Luncheon meat. It was originally used to refer to unsolicited postings for commercial products or services on Usenet, especially when they were cross-posted to several newsgroups." (How The Internet Works, pg. 103). "Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, lovely spam! Wonderful spam!" (Monty Python's Flying Circus). In class we discussed the true origin of the word, which doesn't actually have anything to do with Monty Python. The actual origin derived from a group of web geeks. When one would receive a mass email from someone trying to sell them something or obtain their email address, they would call it spam. If you picture someone throwing a handful of spam into a fan, it would send chunks of it flying everywhere. This is what these early web geeks used to describe a mass email being sent out to numerous people at once.

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