Think Before You Send: Messages are Forever

Did you ever send that email that you wish you could pull back and couldn’t?  That’s what I think about every time I see the painting The Scream by Edvard Munch. Many moons ago I sent out an email in edit form without cleaning it up first and my wonderful colleagues left a copy of it with a picture of The Scream painting on my desk. Funny and true to how I felt. I was embarrassed as it went out to all the senior executives of the company. After spending many years in human relations, I’ve unfortunately seen this happen more times than I wish to count.

You Can’t Delete a Tweet

This has been on my mind more recently with all the news about old tweets and posts being resurrected showing very poor—and sometimes hateful—sentiments that celebrities and athletes expressed in their younger years. It’s never okay to hate, and accountability in the public domain is inevitable and in many cases justified.   

In light of recent political and cultural events, I’ve been reminded that everything we say, put into print, and is electronically based will live on forever. As is true across many companies, here at Dewberry we must exchange ideas and information about proprietary projects. And in order to protect this valuable information for the benefit of our clients, it’s absolutely imperative that we think twice about what we’re documenting to ensure that it’s not going to put jeopardize the client or the company. Protecting what’s been entrusted to us is a responsibility that lies on the shoulders of every employee from interns to senior-level executives. 

Is the Joke Worth it?

Have you seen emails with jokes, intended or otherwise? How about ones that are a little off color? If made public, would anyone be offended? We all love a good laugh, but you must ask yourself, “Do I want my name attached to this email?” What may seem like innocent fun could easily be very offensive or inappropriate to others.   

It’s okay to wait to respond to something in print or online when you have an emotional reaction so you can remove any emotion from your response. Remember, electronic messages live forever and may reemerge anytime in the future. Don’t be that person in the painting. Just be part of doing the right thing.

  • Dave Francis
    Dave Francis
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