Nov 08

Why do I keep getting messages from people I don’t know?

It happens all the time.  I get a  message from a friend… sometimes it’s a text message, and sometimes it’s an email.  Regardless of whether it came in as text or mail suddenly I find my inbox being flooded with replies from people I don’t know.

It’s more prevalent with text messages, since many phones and tablets don’t make it easy or make it impossible to reply to the original sender only.  With email, most folks just reply, which only goes to the orginal sender, but oftentimes they’ll just reply to all and everyone on the original distribution list will get a copy of their response.

Folks… if this is something that happens to you, there are some steps you can take to minimize the problem.  Unfortunately, you can only do it for messages that you reply to.  If you’re replying to a group email just hit “reply” and not “reply all” unless you have reason, like you’re trying to set up a group meeting and everyone needs to know when you’re all available.  Like I said above, it’s easy to do with email.

However, replying to a text message is a bit different.  The default on most text messaging programs is a reply all.  In fact, a number of the devices won’t let you not reply to all.  So, if you just want to reply to the person who originally sent you the text message (let’s say to congratulate them on a life event or something of that sort), the easiest thing to do is to just not reply to the message and just send a new text message to that person only.

This can help minimize those “Why did I get a message from that person” moments, at least from your end.  And don’t be afraid to tell some of these folks that reply all isn’t something that’s necessary — or at least send them a link to this post 🙂

 Thanks for reading and be sure to forward, follow, comment on and share it!


  1. Stuart

    Great article.

    The latest wave to hit those who don’t rely on social networking is obsessive Facebook, Twitter and most especially linkedin invitations. These border on spam, but they get through because unlike your example they are messages from someone you DO know.

    Linkedin has particularly become an annoyance to the non-social folks I know, because they seem to be raiding your browser history and e-mail history as well as doing deep personal checks on their members to try to find new members.

  2. Marty Silbernik

    I wish I could expand on all the details of the major players in the social networking field and how they hook you in. I know that a couple of years ago, if you tried to email me via Facebook, I would never see the message. And when I did, I’d ask people to NOT do that.

    However, the latest number that I’ve seen is that somewhere around 66% of the population uses Facebook, versus about 25% or so for Twitter. So, Facebook and text messaging have pretty much taken over what us “older folks” finally got used to in email.

    Then again, I suspect that if I didn’t have the Facebook account, people would have no choice but to contact me via email or phone. Then again, people assume you read all their posts on Facebook, again, leaving them with a false impression that you actually saw what they posted and would react accordingly.

    With the number of “notifications” I keep getting when I log into Facebook – notifications that I don’t care about – I’ve seriously thought about deactivating the account. We’ll see what the next few months bring.

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