The Wash Post's Robert MacMillan reports on a Pew Internet and American Life Project poll about email spam:
The "news" out of the Pew survey is this: "Compared to a year ago, fewer e-mail users now say that spam is undermining their trust in e-mail, eroding their e-mail use or making life online unpleasant or annoying."
Specifically, the Pew poll of more than 1,400 Netheads finds:
28% of users with a personal email account say they are getting more spam than a year ago, while 22% say they are getting less.
21% of users with a work email account say they are getting more spam than a year ago, while 16% say they are getting less.
53% of email users say spam has made them less trusting of email, compared to 62% a year ago.
22% of email users say that spam has reduced their overall use of email, compared to 29% a year ago.
67% of email users say spam has made being online unpleasant or annoying, compared to 77% a year ago.
More results here.
Why don't we mind spam as much? I'd wager that part of the answer is that we've simply gotten used to it and know how to delete spam without getting into a lather about it. As or more important, ISPs and people are using more and better filters on their email, so even if the volume of spam is increasing (note: that's despite anti-spam laws), it's less likely to reach a person's inbox in a particularly annoying way. And let's not forget that the Internet in general has always been a hysterical medium, eliciting extreme reactions from every new development, for good or ill (remember all the bitching and moaning when ecommerce started to crank up?).
But the Post's MacMillan sees a darker–and even less convincing–reason why spam no longer roils cyberspace like it used to:
There could be another explanation for the Pew findings. As more people use the Internet to shop, pay bills and perform other critical aspects of daily life, they begin to worry about a far more dangerous threat—an increase in online crime.
Whole thing here.