The origin of the word spam.

Okay, here’s something entirely unrelated to voting. On June 15, 2011, I sent an email to some friends telling them that I was puzzled by the debates surrounding the origin of the word “spam”, as relates to junk email… because someone told me, a long time ago, what it means.

In the early 80’s, I was selling software to a medium-size company in northern NJ and was taken on a tour of the place. When I saw scores of employees stuffing envelopes with glossy advertising material I asked my guide what they were doing and she replied, “They’re sending out SPAM.” I asked what that was and she said, “It’s an acronym for Sales Promotion and Marketing.”

So… after reading one too many theories about the origin of the word “spam”, I decided to make an entry in Wikipedia. I wrote: “In the early 1980’s, companies that bulked-mailed unsolicited advertising material routinely referred to it as ‘SPAM’ – their acronym for ‘Sales Promotion and Marketing‘”.

But guess what? Wikipedia deleted my entry due to “lack of citation” (Argh). I tried a second time, but they deleted it again. Luckily, my words were on the site long enough for someone to see the entry and steal it (which is fine: my ego ain’t _that_ big) so you can now see the explanation occasionally pop up if you search for the “origin of the word spam”.
But back to the email I sent my friends on June 15, 2011. That email – which, of course, I saved –  carried a subject line that poked gentle fun at myself. It said, “My contribution to humanity.”