‘Is there junk in your life?’ asks the latest of ‘365 Days of Writing Prompts.’
Well of course there is. ‘Junk’- in all its burgeoning variety of forms – is an inescapable adjunct to modern life.
Some – maybe even most – junk doesn’t start out that way: it’s simply stuff that gets overtaken by events, or progress.
- Consider that old black and white TV with 405 fuzzy black and white lines. Once it was cutting-edge technology, now it can’t pick up anything – not even a BBC newsreader in a dinner jacket.
- Or that bakelite telephone – with a dial – that doesn’t even tell you the time, or take pictures of your dinner and upload them to the internet for the immediate benefit and edification of the entire human race.
- Or McDonalds. Oh no, wait, that always was junk.
Items such as these have a certain nostalgic value, which might explain why the obsolete doesn’t get thrown away but is allowed to become, for want of a better word, junk.
Apart from the McDonalds, which just refuses to go away until you drown it in Gaviscon and your own regret and self-loathing.
But there’s some more modern junk that it would be impossible to hanker after. Here are just a couple that I find particularly irritating:
- That really annoying plastic anti-theft packaging that can only be opened with a pair of industrial shears while wearing a pair of welders’ gauntlets
- Those myriad little labels sewn into a shirt or pair of jeans that scratch like hell and whose only other purpose is to tell you to ‘Wash dark colours separately’ in about fifty different languages
Increasingly, too, there is virtual junk: those unsolicited e-mails that pop up on a regular basis. You know the sort of thing: those offering to cut you in if you would only provide your bank details to a West African prince fallen upon hard times, or informing you that hot singles in your area are practically gagging to meet you. Or offering you little blue pills should you ever encounter one of those hot singles and fail to rise to the occasion.
The good thing about this electronic detritus, of course, is that it’s very easy to dispose of – just click on ‘Delete’.
As there’s so much junk all around us, I thought that for the purposes of this post I’d focus on the particular type of junk that plagues the blogosphere. I don’t even mean the Spam comments that Akismet usually does such a good job of weeding out. Again, that’s easily disposed of with the help of ‘Delete’.
For me, the most annoying kind of blog-related junk is the ‘Follow’ from an affiliate marketer. Now, I’ve written about this before (here), but the problem persists. It’s not the ‘wares’ that these modern-day snake-oil salespersons are selling, or even the fact that I’m not remotely interested in allowing myself to be conned into parting with money in exchange for the vague promise of making more money.
No, what really gets me is the false hope that’s produced by a new ‘Follow’ from one of these leeches.
‘Hey’, you think when you get a notification that so-and-so is now following you, ‘somebody else likes this stuff. Great’. Then you click on the link to their site, only to find a picture of some smug, gurning bastard and an inducement to ‘sign up’ in order to watch a video that will open the door to unimaginable riches in return for barely any effort on your part. For a fee, you too can become a smug, gurning bastard and try and part people from their money. The disappointment only makes the deception worse.
So here’s my simple message to all you affiliate marketers out there:
Is that clear enough for you?