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12.05.2008

You Can't Take Back Your Words

...sometimes not even with blogs.

Ever since Google announced their Custom Time™ option on April 1, 2008, the ethical issues surrounding email and time manipulation have been hotly debated1.

But what about taking back an email? I know of a select few clients that allow you to take back an unread email... but that's not a common feature. Other systems allow you to request a "recall" of the message you sent, but even that doesn't fully work and can't erase what others have read.

Much like the impossibility of taking back something you said that now hangs in the air like a lead weight, you can't bring back an email once it is loosed on cyberspace. The same is true of blog posts with an RSS feed. I've read numerous posts that, after posting, had been deleted by the author. In fact, I've commented on posts long deleted and sent people a copy of the post they bemoaned deleting. All of them expressed surprise that their post had not completely vanished from the world wide web.

Why am I talking about this?

Because I replied individually to an email today that had text in it that should not have been seen by most of the people on the mailing list. Thankfully the email was recalled, but I don't know how many of the recipients read what I had before the message was revised.

This caution applies to email, blogs, Facebook, Myspace, YouTube and many other web tools: Be very careful before you put anything out there for the world to see.

And be careful what you say as well.

Honestly, that's just good advice all around.

~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

1Citation needed.

2 comments :

Jessie said...

Great advice.

Luke said...

Thanks <smile>.

~Luke