A document crossed my path the other day. It was a scathing letter sent to the management of a local firm. Crabby customers are part of life, and many times the anger is justified, but in this letter the business owner expressed not only contempt for management, but some very contemptuous opinions about their own client base. Those familiar with the characters involved were mightily amused and had a good time pointing out the incandescent foolishness of the sentiments in the letter.
This letter was 12 years old, and it occurred to me that had this been sent as an email last week rather than last decade, the writer of the letter might have seen it plastered all over the blogs and forums in their community. In my opinion the reaction would have had somewhere between a serious to devastating impact on the business, particularly if a local competitor decided to make an issue out of it.
The recipients of the angry broadside were responsible and professional enough to keep the offensive remarks to themselves and redacted identifying information. However, imagine if the person receiving the nasty indictment was less professional. The world is full of hotheads. Having borne the brunt of irrational fury from supposedly college-educated professional businesspeople, I can see someone being mightily tempted to get a little payback.
The takeaway. Never write down and send anything you would be embarrassed to see on a local blog, forum or email sent all over the country. The web never sleeps and it never forgets. To paraphrase Shakespeare, The Evil that men do is cached by Google…