One of the greatest things about email is its “viralability.” That is, the possibility of an email you send to one person making it’s way to thousands. Or even ending up on the front page of the newspaper.
But that’s the problem too. Once that email leaves your desk, you have no control over where it goes. Here’s the best policy.
Never put anything in an email that you would not be willing to see on the front page of the newspaper.
Pulitzer prize winner Robert Olen Butler sent an email to a few of his graduate students telling them that his wife was leaving him for Ted Turner. He even advised them to share the news since he figured he’d get tired of telling the story. And share they did. Just last week the email hit all the popular gossip sites and made several papers. That’s exactly where I read it — on the front page of my hometown newspaper.
Okay. So your email may not include the “celebrity factor,” but it can still be forwarded to an untold number of people. And if it’s the right topic at the right time…well you just never know. Follow the “never” policy and you won’t ever have to find out. And be embarrassed to boot.