Think before you forward — and type

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Left to their own devices, the consonants ‘f,’ ‘w’ and ‘d’ are fairly innocuous.

We find them in words like “foreshadow,” not doing any harm to anyone.

While they have proven to be useful letters in our vernacular, there is one particular usage of them that I will soon be forced to no longer tolerate.

Fw. FW. Fwd. FWD. Or some such variation.

Every time I see such mashups, I can’t reach for the delete button quickly enough.

Flee from such e-mails, dear readers, for these days, few things but untruths and misdirections await you if you click and open.

Those letters should serve as a grave warning. The more times they appear (as in the subject “Fwd: FWD: fw: Fwd: President Obama Hates the Troops), the less seriously you should actually take the “facts” presented within said e-mail.

(For that matter, these messages also tend to have subject lines written by people with no understanding of modern captialization practices. THERE IS NO NEED TO WRITE IN ALL CAPS AT ANY TIME. IT MAKES YOU SOUND AS IF YOU ARE CONSTANTLY YELLING AND MAKES YOU LOOK MORE THAN A BIT FOOLISH. PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, SWEET AND GOOD, STOP THE INSANITY AND STOP THE ALL CAPS.)

What pretends to be fact backed by figures is often scantilly-clad fiction, able to quickly be undressed and shamed by a quick visit to numerous fact-checking websites.

It should, perhaps, serve as commentary that as soon as these “NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW” e-mails pop up, one of the aforementioned fact checking sites go to work to test its validity.

I don’t wish to offend any of the wonderful friends who like to e-mail me, even if 98.3 percent of it is the “Fwd” sort of mail.

But, would it be too difficult for all of us to perhaps do our own fact-checking the next time we get one of these multi-forwarded messages.

Trust me when I say it isn’t that hard to Google a few lines of the text and find an appropriate site to help ferret out the truth.

And, if the message passes muster, by all means, pass it along and give all your friends the vital information they will surely need for their everyday life.

But, if the “facts” prove to be false, as I’ve often found they do, maybe you shouldn’t “Fwd” this one along.

In fact, it might be a nice thing to message back the person who tagged you with the posting and inform them of the error.

I know if I was spreading slander, I’d want my friends to let me know and stop me from doing it.

Let’s all use just a modicum of discretion and think before we forward

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