How E-mail has affected MY life, for one (anecdote(s))

Subject: How E-mail has affected MY life, for one (anecdote(s))
From: Patrick O'Connell <titanide -at- MICRO -dot- ORG>
Date: Sun, 24 Sep 1995 17:24:14 -0400

I'd definitely have to side with the people who say e-mail has made their
lived richer. Just over a week ago a friend I made in Florida via techwr-l
-- we had only spoken on the phone 3 or 4 times in the 2 1/2 years we had
been in touch -- had to give a speech in Fairlee, Vermont, and with a
couple of days left before the weekend she decided to drive up to Montreal
so we could finally meet face-to-face. I got to play tour guide, and we
had a blast!

ON THE OTHER HAND...Never, EVER flame someone who roundly deserves it
from work, even if what you're flaming them for was received at work.
Some folks here may remember my encouraging everybody to send a fellow
named Paul Trummel nasty e-mail for getting ahold of the techwr-l
subscriber list (from which he had banned for previous egregious
misbehavior) and mailing EVERYBODY individually about a new
academic-oriented list he was starting up.

I was in a RATHER bad mood the morning I received that message and blew up
at him, then encouraged everybody to send him nastygrams. I'm now
unemployed. I lost my job not solely because of the Trummel incident (he
threatened to publicize my flaming him and encouraging you folks to
mail-bomb him in a newspaper column, which scared a number of higher-ups
shitless), but it was deinitely a factor.

What happened to me raises another important point about companies
connecting themselves to the Internet, which is:

The Net has its own culture and its own rules of behavior. For example, if
you get unwanted e-mail, flaming the sender to a crispy toast constitutes
a justified reaction on your part. If you are going to connect yourself to
the Net, even if it's only by way of an e-mail gateway, CREATE AND
ORGANIZATION. Simply connecting your company to the Net with no regard for
the *rather* different natures of the Net and most corporations is asking
for trouble.

I was censured rather severely for what happened with Trummel and felt
that I was being made a scapegoat, that my former employer was refusing to
shoulder their share of the blame for what happened. I think a more
typical reaction in first-instance situations like these is to forgive the
employee -- while making it quite clear that any further such behavior i
snot acceptable -- and create policy based on that "first incident." Had
specific rules been instituted when the Internet mail gateway was
activated, the blame WOULD have been solely mine, whatever the rules of
the medium to which the company was newly connected. A lot of bad
feelings would have been avoided.

titanide -at- micro -dot- org

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