Ode to AOL’s “Unsend” function
It’s happened to almost everyone: While sending a usually important e-mail, your hand shakes, you press a wrong key and BAM. “Message Sent.” Or, you finally got up the nerve to really tell someone how you feel (via e-mail of course to avoid in person awkwardness) and in all your rage you press send, wishing only seconds later that you hadn’t been so nasty, or had chosen a harsher insult! Or even forgetting an attachment being sent to your boss and feeling like a complete idiot.
All these embarrassing scenarios were once avoided through AOL‘s “Unsend” function, which allowed users to delete mail that they had sent, as long as the other AOL user hadn’t opened it yet. During my teenage angst, this feature was key in saving me from potentially mortifying situations, as I often took to e-mail to let my thoughts out on particularly troublesome issues. Since I’ve always spoken my mind and have had a hard time learning when and how to say offensive things appropriately, the Unsend button acted as my safety net preventing me from damaging important relationships or causing “high school drama.”
I’d like to ask you, internet junkies, with all the technological advances that have been made since the days of AOL 4.0, why hasn’t an Unsend button been integrated into all mail systems, at least for those mailing to the same platform (ie. Gmail to Gmail). One messaging system that would tremendously benefit from this installation, is Facebook. Due to the casual social nature of the site, Facebook messaging has become a place where people can hold difficult conversations about conflicts, relationships, bills, roommate situations, etc (mostly with people you would rather not speak to at all). For me, it has become the AOL mail of my future (spam and all). So I challenge you Facebook, since I figure you are monitoring incoming and outgoing messages anyway, PLEASE install an Unsend feature. (Gmail, you can too, that’d be great…)
But if these requests cannot be fufilled, I raise a toast to you, AOL Unsend, it was great having you around..
Filed under: Sarah Hutton | 6 Comments
Tags: American Shelf Life, AOL, digital native, e-mail, facebook, gmail, managing relationships, messaging, Sarah Hutton, Unsend