Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Watch your e-mails!

Not a day goes by that someone doesn't compromise him or herself with an e-mail message. I guess it's to be expected with the 35 TRILLION e-mails that are sent every year. But, really, why would anyone write a message that might come back to haunt him?

Take Sean Ramaley, for instance. According to today's Pittsburgh Tribune Review, "In an October 2004 e-mail, former House Democratic Whip Mike Veon chided his legislative assistant Sean Ramaley for not knocking on enough doors to win over voters, during Ramaley's race for an adjacent House district.

'Why not any doors yesterday, Sean? A very nice day. The pace on the doors seems to be slowing down. Is it going to get any better?' Veon asked in the e-mail that was displayed on a large video screen yesterday in Dauphin County Court, where Ramaley is on trial.

Ramaley responded...'After picking up some checks at a labor breakfast, I decided I needed to spend the rest of Friday preparing for Saturday's debate. I expect to be back on doors heavily this week.'

Ramaley, 34, of Baden faces six felony counts for allegedly using the part-time job in Veon's Beaver Falls district office as income while he campaigned for the House seat he subsequently won....Prosecutors claim Ramaley conspired with Veon to hold the no-work job, and that taxpayers paid for Ramaley's campaign."

Gee, I wonder if he did? "...back on the doors heavily this week." That seems to present some serious evidence. But, innocent until proven guilty, I say. He allegedly used the part time job as income, and all that.

Whether Ramaley is guilty or not guilty, he probably learned a lesson in communication. Say as little as possible and say nothing you don't want to see on the front page of the local newspaper... or in court.

Is there any wonder e-mail continues to be called "e-vidence" mail? Most of us have a bad habit of treating e-mail as an informal medium and, thereby, revealing things we later wish we hadn't revealed. It's the great leveler; everyone does it - rich and poor - and everyone suffers accordingly. In fact, look for a series of e-mails to surface that reveal a little more of Tiger Woods than he would want us to know.

As a person who has written his share of emotional messages with little to no thinking (and sent a few jokes he wishes he hadn't sent), I urge you to watch your e-mails... and your texts... and your tweets... and your posts.... You may be reading them on the front page of the local fish wrapper and wishing you had never hit the Send button!

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