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E-mail viruses as a new form of social software

Seems like every day there is a new form of social software being released and then hyped as the next ‘killer app.’ I’m definitely a big fan of social software. Blogs are social software, as I see it, and having a blog has allowed me to get to know (and sometimes meet) a lot of great people that I otherwise wouldn’t have become familiar with. And, through the blog, my name has become more widely known.

Lately, my name is becoming more widely known through the proliferation of E-mail viruses. As many of you know, the latest E-mail viruses use ‘spoofing’ and also access the target’s address book to make it seem that someone has sent an E-mail (containing the virus, of course) to a person they don’t know. Ordinarily, you would never know that some friend of a friend out there in cyberia had gotten an E-mail that purported to be from you. But, many of the new spam/virus filters will send a notification E-mail you letting you know that someone out there is, through no fault of yours, cursing your existence. And herein lies a great opportunity for social networking.

For example, here is the text of one spam/virus filter message that I received recently:

Your email Re: Re: Document was not delivered because our Virus Scanner detected a virus. Please virus check your machine before resending. This is an automated message.

So, after reading this automated reply, I’m thinking of sending an E-mail to the recipient of the spoofed communique apologizing for his receipt of the virus that I didn’t send. And who knows, if this unknown person replies it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship…

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