When Hitting Reply Means Forever, from the Chronicle
This is a slightly old (August 23) but very sobering article about the dangers of conducting important business via email & listservs. It’s amazing the things people write, when they (should) know that everyone & their uncle will be able to see it.
One colleague — someone who has grown to be a friend and whom I respect a great deal as a scholar and forward-thinking academic — used an imaginative culinary metaphor to argue against making me a job offer. He likened my production of scholarship to the dining experience available at the Olive Garden, the moderately priced purveyor of all-you-can-eat pasta meals. Sure, if you needed to grab something to eat, my future colleague argued, you might reconcile yourself to chain Italian, but shouldn’t we decide to eat at our town’s (sole) East Coast-style restaurant?
And this is only one of a bunch of posts that if I’d made them, I’d be mortified that they were public. Reading this makes me want to take a page out of a John LeCarre novel & never use email or the phone again; take a walk in the park or something whenever I have to conduct serious business.
This also made me very curious to know what sort of exchanges went on here in SILS when I was hired. So I looked into whether the SILS faculty listserv is archived that far back in time. Answer: no. Carolina does maintain an archive of listservs, but it only goes back 90 days. Good for UNC. Though still, I’m sad that I can’t read what got said about me. Maybe I’m just an egomaniac. Or a glutton for punishment.