An example of what NOT to do

Allow me to tell you a story…

It starts with a guy working on a statistics project using the directory of students and alumni to get them to take a survey.  No problem right, people do this every now and again.  I looked at it yesterday, didn’t thing to much of it; until this morning.  I get to school, and after my first class a friend of mine asks if I’ve checked my school email yet… No, I haven’t opened outlook yet.  So I go open it up, and after about 10 minutes I have a total of 29 e-mails of people who have replied all to that original message.  Not only that, the size of the messages increases a huge amount for every reply all due to the huge list of people and e-mail addresses that are copied every time the message is re-replied to.

Later today, one of the faculty comes in and makes an announcement that sending mass e-mails is in violation of the acceptable use policy that everybody signed when coming to Neumont and that people reply-all’ing will be repremanded and/or be put on academic probation.

The spam fest stopped right after that… I wonder why…

But wait…

… it gets better.

Remember the part where the original e-mail got sent to some alumni? As in former Neumont students now working for many of the companies that may hire these up-and-coming Neumont graduates?

So I get an e-mail from the VP of Employer Relations talking about the results of this little spam-fest, he puts it best:

Just so you are aware, this reply-to-all email chain was sent to not only our current students but to a large majority of our alumni. I’ve had numerous complaints from alumni over the past few hours regarding their inboxes being filled with this reply-to-all garbage.

They have voiced their frustration with the apparent maturity level of our current students. I have also heard from several of them regarding their desires to continually hire our students and that this unprofessional and immature email chain makes them think twice about doing so. Many of you who replied to all on the chain have been black-listed with several of those employers.

Email is a form of communication that is extremely easy to misinterpret. The lack of body language and facial expressions makes the message in an email easy to misconstrue and potentially very powerful (positively or negatively). A general rule of thumb I use in all emails is to pause before hitting “send” and think about whether the tone, content and purpose of the email is what I want to convey and consider if the repercussions are the ones that I would want/expect. I encourage all of you to exercise professionalism in all forms of communication when representing yourself, your school and your peers.

Literally an “Oh Sh**” moment.

So remember, what you do, even the little things can have, well, life changing ramifications.  Think before you click.

Paul Rohde

4 thoughts on “An example of what NOT to do

  1. Heh…

    I was one of those alumni that got it. (Graduated in Third Cohort) Happily, I had my e-mail filters all set up for such an eventuality. (It happened while I was there, a student-generation ago. :P)

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