Monday, October 01, 2007

Brave new world.

In one of their cautionary illustrations, [David] Shipley and [Will] Schwalbe hold up an email exchange between an executive and a secretary at a large American company in China. The executive nastily wrote:
You locked me out of my office this evening because you assume I have my office key on my person. With immediate effect, you do not leave the office until you have checked with all the managers you support.
The secretary wrote back:
I locked the door because the office has been burgled in the past. Even though I'm your subordinate, please pay attention to politeness when you speak. This is the most basic human courtesy. You have your own keys. You forgot to bring them, but you still want to say it's someone else's fault.
She then performed the two-click operation that sent copies of her and her boss's emails to the entire staff of the company. Before long the exchange appeared in the Chinese press and led to the executive's resignation.
Janet Malcolm, "Pandora's Click," The New York Review of Books 8 (Sep. 27, 2007).

It's a wonderful cautionary story. (One minor quibble with the review: "two-click operation"? Either she hit "reply all" before she typed the message and then hit "send," or she had to click rather more to cc or bcc the entire staff. Apparently neither Malcolm nor her editors use Outlook.)

Perhaps she clicked "cc", then used TAB and arrow keys to select the distribution list, clicked the >> button to add it to he recipients list, then hit enter. A two click operation, in outlook, to add every employee. It does of course assume she has the distribution list already set up though.
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