I’m a reporter. I work with words. My coworkers, if nothing else, are good at sentence construction. So it was a bit puzzling when I received this message today, labeled “from a coworker,” from the anonymous email sending service Leak:
“Sorry if sometimes I am not answering your email. But I think most of them are so boring.”
I was less disturbed by the sentiment than I was by the grammar.
A quick look at my media-heavy Twitter feed made the situation a bit clearer. Many reporters at tech publications had just had similar experiences:
Several staffers at Fast Company received similarly odd confessions.
Last week, when I wrote about Leak, I mentioned that the one I received could have been from someone who wanted to promote the app. When I asked the app’s cofounder, Laurent Desserrey, whether he or someone at the company had sent it to me, he responded with an awkwardly constructed sentence: “Nope, we didn’t have the time to do this kind of hacks.”
On Monday, it seems he found the time. “It’s definitely a PR stunt,” he told me. “We decided to send them to some journalists because we thought that it was funnier to live the Leak experience than receiving a regular press release.” Given the number of reporters tweeting about the app as a result and sure, even this article, you could say the stunt worked. In a way.
Leak argues on its website that the app can help you “use anonymity for good” or “share yourself openly and honestly,” but the wave of nonsensical emails today highlight the reality that it can also be used effectively to be annoying and dishonest.