cc licensed flickr photo shared by roboppy

No one (admits) liking spam, the electronic kind nor the meat food product… well there are fans of the latter, more than the former.

Instead of just complaining I seek to make use of the stuff. For a while I was trying to pull bits out and tweet them under the secret name of @spamstories

But like most of my meme efforts, it died a quiet lonely death.

I began thinking of spam again in light of ds106

What can we do with all the stuff?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by isinoid

So I began thinking with today’s spam gem:

My name is Captain Matthew Stamford of the US Marine corps stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan,

I found some money stashed in a couple of barrels while on patrol ($2,000,000.00) I need someone to help me move it to a safer place,

please have it in mind that there is no danger involved. You may contact me on so that I can provide you with details

If you have been living in a cave, anytime someone you dont know asks your help to move a booty of money out of a far away land, it is spam. But of course, enough sad fools send Captian Matthew their contact info, which leads to social engineering, which leads to some smuck wondering where his bank account balance went.


But let’s go back to that fanciful email. What if, as a character building exercise, we did the back story?

Who is Captain Matthew Stamford? What is he doing in Kabul? Who put the money in the barrel? Where did the money come from? What happens when the people who put the money in the barrel come back and look for it?

How might you tell the tale? Is this a five card flickr things? an Xtranormal goofy tale?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Defence Images

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Yan Boechat

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Dan4th

cc licensed flickr photo shared by bradleygee

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Travis S.

Well, what would YOU make from spam?

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. That is sheer brilliance, doing a 5-card story based on spam messages. One can even imagine an entire fictional universe driven by spam characters. OMG – I think you may have just cracked it Alan – spam are actually MESSAGES FROM AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE! Oh crap, now the Men in Black are gonna get us FOR SURE!

  2. I agree with Scott, sheer brilliance, and we could very well find some way to pull all those spam story tweets into a randomizer, and kinda play with the magnetic poetry from spam idea. The whole idea of reclaiming spam as art is the ultimate form of sustainability on the web. And we could have a lot of fun with this. I freaking love it. I want this to be an assignment, and I think having folks from around the class create a character with a backstory out of a spam message would then allow us to use various social media to have them interact. Kind of a spam doppleganger, out of which, an entire constantly unfolding narrative emerges.

    This is sick, keeps the hits coming dog!

  3. The people that send these Nigerian scams will also respond to replies. That can lead to a whole new level of entertainment as you build on the story alongside the scammed. Typically they speak such poor English it’s difficult for them to see sarcasm on the screen (or maybe they want the money so bad they want to believe). Love the idea of using spam as a story prompt!

  4. That’s kind of what I was trying to do by messing with 5 card flickr a while back- I wanted interesting words to come up with the images. I managed to get words loading over the images from a text file but ran out of time and energy before it worked how I really wanted it to. I’ll likely give it another try some day.

    On another note, I do find an odd kind of amusement in writing back to spam comments on Jim’s blog. I try to match their voice and tone. I don’t know why I find this amusing but I do.

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