Think twice before you click ‘send’ on that email — Across the Universe
How many times have you written a frustrated email to a colleague or someone in upper management — only to delete it, take a deep breath, and send off a message that was much more polite and professional?
I’ve been there, and as I continue to mature in an era when email is rapidly growing, I’m learning more and more the ins and outs of proper communication.
There are just certain things you shouldn’t say or do in an email, yet some people forget how quickly that digital message could spread to other people who you never thought would see it.
Even if you think you’ve deleted your emails, odds are they still exist in some form in cyberspace, and they can come back to haunt you.
I’d like to think this is a “no duh” kind of statement. But for every time I think public figures (no matter how big or small) understand this concept, I still read headlines of Freedom of Information Act requests going after email accounts, and lo and behold, evidence of infidelity or corruption is found.
For current proof, just Google the names of Michigan reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat and read up on that debacle — which all started from a poorly thought-out email.
But my commentary this week was spawned by the latest chapter in 2016 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s email controversy.
As the Associated Press and a slew of media outlets reported, Clinton apologized (some media, by the way, report she “finally” apologized) Tuesday for using a private email server, expressing remorse for having separate accounts for work and personal business during her time as secretary of state.
To be clear, I’m not saying or alleging she did anything illegal, and I’ll also point out that while she admitted to using a private email server, she’s always disputed that she ever traded classified information over email.
Further, it remains to be seen if Clinton’s apology and emotional comments Tuesday will help or hurt her campaign, more or less than the transgression itself of what amounted, in my opinion, to her wrongly maintaining control over what remains private vs. public.
What also should be clear, “no duh” or not, is that if you’re a public figure (myself included), you better be prepared to defend what you send, because legal or not, it can all be fair game in the eyes of the communities we serve.
Kevin MacMillan is managing editor of the Sierra Sun. He may be reached for comment at email@example.com.