Thursday, February 07, 2008

Don’t Push Send!

I heard a wonderful singer on the radio the other day. Carrie Newcomer, whose new album, “Geographies of Light” can be seen & sampled at The song I heard was “Don’t Push Send!” It’s a cautionary song about all the many ways you can regret sending an e-mail. Visit the site and listen to a clip, and take her message to heart!

Here is a portion of the lyrics:

This is a story a very sad tale
Of intrigue and romance and electronic mail
A dangerous form of information, and the perils of instant gratification
How many times did I hit my Mac want to crawl inside and take the whole thing back
But its no use say it again and again
Don't push send
Carol wrote about her job's frustrations
What drove her crazy with aggravation
A list of every person's faults,
Precise and pithy, wry insults
She sent it off to her best friend
But saw with horror as she pushed send
She hit the keys and began to roar
She'd she'd copied the entire office floor
Chorus: Don't push send
Don’t push send
There are things that you just can amend
I tell myself again and again
Don't push send (snip)
I have certainly sent my share of e-mails that I regretted. I should have a little javascript program put up a full screen message saying - Don’t Push Send whenever there are too many all caps words in an e-mail. You could probably also create a helpful list of words that would also trigger such a message. Hmmm. Here are selected sad stories of various e-mails that must have been deeply regretted, and yet can never be called back -- I think I'll be making a post-it note to stick on my computer!
Boss's threats against "lazy" employees sends stock plunging here article about secretaries losing jobs over flamewar in 2005
A nice article, under "mental health" in the NY Times from 2007, which includes the new term "web rage"
Michael Hyatt's blog, "From Where I Sit" with a cool graphic and detailed story about an angry e-mail that turned out not to be a disaster. Helpful suggestions on pausing before you send a real flamer! Here
A Time Magazine article from 2000 promoting an etiquette guide, Poor Richard's Guide to Building Online Communities.
New Zealand Herald article about a flaming e-mail that went viral globally here
And of course, the immortal flame war between a lawyer and the new graduate he thought he was hiring, from the Boston Globe here
And this just out on the online ABA Journal! A lawyer had two similar names in the e-mail address book and sent a confidential e-mail to the wrong person! What a timely horror story!

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