Ode to AOL’s “Unsend” function

26May08

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..

-Sarah Hutton

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6 Responses to “Ode to AOL’s “Unsend” function”

  1. I’ll throw my name in for adding an unsend function to Gmail – PLEASE! I used to use it a LOT at one of my previous jobs where we had a desktop mail client and was just searching for it in vain last night when I wanted to retract an email that had an incorrect URL in it. Thanks for bringing this up :-)

  2. Kate-glad you’re in agreement. I hadn’t even thought of sending the wrong link (which now I recall I have done many times) or forgetting to proofread or spellcheck. Definitely some downfalls with e-mail these days. Atleast with AOL you had the option of taking it back.

  3. Good to know that im not the only one that is begging for this function. (:

  4. Hey, stumbled upon your cool blog while looking for images to post to the lament in my own blog about not having “unsend”.
    Hope Google is looking in on this post, my only complaint with gmail is that it lacks that feature that will protect me from my own stupidity. Maybe if everyone pitches in, like $2.00, they’ll bring it back.

  5. 5 Jennifer Hizer

    I will also add in my own name. I sent someone something on facebook that now I am regreting sending that message and it would be great to have an unsend button!

  6. 6 Steve Ward

    Was? Aol still has the unsend function.



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