E-mail Gone Wild

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RadioShack Corp. notified about 400 workers by e-mail that they were being dismissed immediately as part of planned job cuts.


You don’t need McLuhan to decipher the effects of media on those 400 workers. One commentator thinks it might be dehumanizing. I think “insulting” is a better word. What goes through a worker’s head when he gets that? “What about COBRA?” “Do I just pack up and leave now?” “The CEO must know I was sleeping with his daughter.”

Softening fact: Workers were told in meetings that cutbacks were coming and the news would be delivered electronically. That helps a lot. But I bet the “You got mail!” tingle on employees’s computers was pretty intense for awhile.

But no matter how you cut it, e-mail probably isn’t the best medium for such things. E-mail also doesn’t work well in other situations:

*Breaking up with a girlfriend;

*Notifying co-workers that the building is on fire;

*Marriage proposals;

*Telling a friend that his wife is having an affair.

But e-mail is very good in these situations:

*Breaking up with a girlfriend because you have VD and may have given it to her;

*Notifying co-workers that you set the building on fire while trying to smoke a joint in the paper-shredding room;

*Breaking off a marriage proposal because you’ve decided to try the gay lifestyle for awhile;

*Telling a friend that his wife is having an affair with you.