Posted Monday September 5th, 2011, 9:30 am by Dr Monica Seeley
Careless emails are the fastest way to expose a love affair. Recently seeing ‘Betrayal’ by Harold Pinter’s play reminded me of this fact. The nub of the story, as the title suggests, is about people having affairs and betraying each other. Based on his own affair with Joan Bakewell, it takes place in the late 70s when email as we know it was almost non-existant. The couples involved managed to keep their affairs secret for years.
Would that happen now in the digital era with email and social networking making it so easy to expose what one is doing? Take for example the Harry Stonecipher affair which is perhaps the most high profile and costly one to be exposed by careless email conversations and poor email etiquette. Before the era of email always on, this would probably have gone unnoticed and perhaps petered out.
More recently is the case of the late Mike Todd Chief Constable of Greater Manachester Police where again much of the evidence was found through email exchanges with the various women in his life. Again these exchanges were carried out on the company rather than personal emails accounts.
Women are often accused of gossiping more than men. If you look at the root source of most of the email scandals such as the Claire Swire’s affair they are nearly always perpetrated by men. My own research on gender differences shows that poor email etiquette in terms of gossiping by electronic communications is higher amongst men than women (see ‘Managing in the Email Office’).
In all likelihood the UK law on email retention will change over the coming year to be more like the US laws whereby email must be retained for a certain length of time. This will make it even harder to cover one’s tracks if the exchanges of love letters are on the company email account.
Perhaps it’s time to return to writing conventional love letters and at the very least improving one’s email etiquette when sending emails on the company email account.
What is your view on email love letters?
This weeks tips are how to write email PEARLS and not lead balloons which will land you and the business in trouble.