A wise man once told me “Email is like herpes. Once it’s out there, it can spread to anyone and it’s there forever.” This is true of all digital communication. Texts, emails, DMs, comments, and even likes can harm you. Every man should understand why email is like herpes. How to protect yourself starts with being careful with what you put in writing. Always assume it’s never going to stay private.
How Email is Like Herpes
Anything you put out there at any time can be used against you. Emails from ten years ago can cost you your job, even if you’re a Super Bowl winning NFL coach. A picture from fifteen years ago can cost you your reputation. Like or a comments from two months ago can harm your ability to earn money. When it comes to old Tweets, the amount of damage that can be done to you is astronomical.
The point is when someone is out to get you, the larger your digital footprint, the more they can use against you. Don’t underestimate the power of spinning content as harmful, especially in today’s society. Since anything can be deemed offensive, even the most harmless, unintentional things can cause controversy.
Unfortunately, we live in unchartered waters, full of unprecedented situations. Past generations didn’t have to worry about the foolish things they did in the past coming back to hurt them. Today, we live in the age of transparency; everything is out there and everything “sticks”.
To mitigate risk, take a minute before you hit send and read it back to yourself. Consider how it could potentially cause you harm, or could be interpreted the wrong way. If this resurfaced in twenty years, would you be okay with your kids reading it? Also, consider the tone of the communication. When you’re writing, it’s best to envision yourself writing to the person you admire most in the world. Ask yourself if you would speak to your Grandmother in this tone. If not, change what you’re writing.
In summary, be responsible with your words, and selective with what you decide to put in writing. Guard your privacy with all your might.
– Your Big Bro