Dear Penn: you are a bunch of very forward–happy people.
If we over at Street wanted to really, truly print a life–wrecking, gossip–inducing, controversial article, all we'd have to do is copy and paste half of the emails I’m regularly forwarded directly into Highbrow's Gutter. Not that I’m a particularly connected or popular person. I just think email is new and unstable enough a form of communication that it is (and we, its users, are) not yet capable of handling secrets.
It’s simply too easy to mess up — to forget to bcc: that list of applicants, to send something to the wrong “Kate,” or even to fail to remember that the best friend of the girl you’re talking shit about for sleeping over is actually in your fraternity. You might even add somebody to an email chain who was the subject of some trash talk a few replies down.
Granted, I love getting the gossip. Who wouldn't? Rebellious organizations trying to one–up or evade University administration, senior societies hating on one another, frats reliving the slutty girls and bro–ffenses of last night’s latenight. I love it all. But there’s a line. Not only can people get hurt, but you’ll only end up looking like an ass with a ‘sent from my iPhone’ signature tag.
So pay attention, because you’ll only hear this from me once. People: if you don’t want something repeated, don’t send it in an email. Hitting the forward button is deceptively easy! Particularly because Penn listservs — by their very nature — have on them many people equally as capable of making a 'sending' blunder as you are; and probably even more people that don’t care about you and can’t wait to forward your email chain over to a whole ‘nother 100–person listserv because they think it’s funny.
Think about it as the new six degrees of separation — but whereas Ross had all day to run around making sure Rachel would never find out about his night with that short–haired chick, email forwarding takes mere seconds.
Got a secret, or even a gripe? Don’t even type it out. Or if you do, save us all the trouble and just bcc: firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘til next week,