August 22, 2007 |
Sure, you have heard of spam, but have you heard of bacn? Not what you eat for breakfast, but what you find in your email inbox that is a legitimate email, but not really worth viewing.
When you get those messages from communities you have joined that simply notify you of updates or a new friend, that is bacn.
To be honest, I had not heard of bacn, until yesterday when I came across a post on Lifehacker. I must not be too far behind the times on this though, as it is mentioned that the term was born earlier this week. This (somewhat official) definition is provided there:
“Email you receive that isn't spam… And isn't personal mail. It's the middle class of email. It's notifications of a new post to your Facebook wall or a new follower on Twitter. It's the Google alert for your name and the newsletter from your favorite company.”
No time has been wasted in spreading the word about bacn, with an official blog already having been formed. There are only a few posts so far, but they do state that “Bacn is a new problem now plaguing our email inboxes… it?s become a recognized issue that people are now finally taking actions to fix.”
Even BuzzFeed has now detected Bacn as the latest buzz, and is providing useful links that relate to “the new email food group.” If that is not enough, check out Technorati, which already has over 300 blog posts about bacn, and Google Blog Search, which turns up with nearly 900 relevant blog posts.
iJustine recently attended a PodCamp event in Pittsburgh, where the term was explained and discussed. “We want to read them, we want to follow those who just added us, but don?t quite have the time to do it right this second,” she stated in her post, which also contains a video clip of the discussion.
Another video blogger, Bill Cammack, has gone a step further by providing some expansion on possible types of bacn. To add some comic spin to an already funny name, he stated via Twitter that “FakinBacn” is spam disguised as bacn. Even better, his name for spam from Digg is KvnBacn!
Is bacn really an epidemic that needs a solution though? I mean, there are ways of preventing these emails or redirecting them.
I have signed up for numerous services on the internet myself, that send constant email messages. It is what I expect, because as a writer of a web 2.0 blog, I review a lot of services. The web 2.0 world is one that is constantly being updated and modified, and with email still being the most universal way to communicate with others online, most services find this the best way to stay in contact with users.
I will admit that bacn can add up in your inbox, but several services offer you the option to opt out of receiving emails. It is usually as simple as visiting your preferences or account settings page.
Another way, my preferred method, is to set up a filter that catches those emails and channels them into a separate folder, keeping your inbox clutter-free (see the screenshot of my Pownce filter in Gmail above). This way, you can still view the emails, if necessary. With many free email services providing gigabytes of space now, instead of megabytes, most users should have enough room to keep everything without the need to constantly clear out your filters.
This is often the method used to catch spam, but spam can be much harder to detect, as it often is sent from several different email addresses. Bacn, on the other hand, is easy to anticipate, because you must voluntarily sign up for a social network or web service before you receive these types of emails.
All that I can say about bacn is that you get what you ask for, and when you sign up for online services, you are basically asking for them to keep you up-to-date when you enter your email address.
If it weren't for bacn, I would probably forget about half of the services that I sign up for, simply because there are so many. Keeping these emails in my inbox, but separate, is like a kind of reminder that notifies me that its time to take a look and see what is new.
What is your stand on the bacn issue? Is it a problem, or is it just a side effect of the web 2.0 universe?