Before I start this node I wish to let it be known that I adore email and use it all the time. The thing that I am about to comment on is not an inherent fault within email and I'm quite sure that it could be easily combatted with precautionary measures. It does, however, happen a LOT.

I am referring to just how easy it is to send an email to the wrong person.

The feeling that washes over you as it dawns upon you that you have 'replied all' rather than just 'replied' or have dragged the wrong address from your contacts without realising can be one of an all consuming gut-wrenching and irretrievably embarrassing nature.

As you sit there, holding your head in disbelief, all you can do is wait for the inevitable reply. Kind of like the feeling a kid with particularly harsh parents gets as he leaves a bad report card on the table for them to sign, he isn't sure whether they've seen it yet but when they do you are going to know about it.

The feeling can only be compared to that of a person who has been slagging off a friend to others, only to realise that the subject of his diatribe has been standing behind him all along.

This is a communication mix up that can only really happen over the net. You'd have to be a fool to address and post a letter to anyone other than the intended recipient, and the chances of you conducting a telephone conversation with the wrong person are virtually zero. With one ill-timed click of a mouse however, your life could be thrown into all kinds of unwanted chaos.

The reason for this node today is that during a discussion with two of my flatmates, it turned out that all three of us had sent an email to the wrong person only yesterday. In order of embarrasment, least embarrasing first;

1) I sent an email, initially destined to a friend of mine at another company discussing how much I hate work and my plans to leave. I in fact replied to an email from the head of marketing of my own company and only realised when she replied to me basically saying that she hated it too. (relief and furius embarrasment on my part ensued for approximately 2 hours)

2) My housemate sent an email intended for his workmate, detailing his secret knowledge of a high-profile office affair which both slated the woman indulging in the affair and released information that even he shouldn't have known to the woman in question. Needless to say she had a few 'choice' words to say to him.

3) My other housemate's boyfriend accidenatlly sent a picture of himself masturbating to another girl in her office who promptly forwarded it to the enitre floor.

Like unwanted teenage pregnancies, it's happened before and it'll happen again.

The best advice I can offer applies to both scenarios;

"If you can't be good, be careful!"

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