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High-tech Horror Stories: Learning to use e-mail, the hard way

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As we learn to integrate each new technological marvel into our lives, one of the inevitable steps along the way is embarrassing yourself in a horrifying new way with it. Shortly after the phone was invented, the drunk dial was invented. It was probably the first person who took naked photos with a digital camera that failed to erase them before loaning said camera to the parents to take photos of the family dog. And I can't be the only person that's ever (mis)used the then-relatively new wonder of alt-tabbing through multiple windows to accidentally show my taste in porn to a new client at work, right? Right?

Anyway, to kick off our occasional series of high-tech horror stories, we turn to a relatively old technology, but one that has a few esoteric features, not fully understood by many: e-mail. Our tale comes from Donnybrook Writing Academy webmaster Erin Barnes, who tells us of a friend's dilemma with a boy, some helpful advice, and an e-mail gone horribly wrong. Do you know the difference between CC and BCC? Read on to find out what happens when one girl, faced with breaking a guy's heart, didn't.

A friend of mine was being courted by a nice young man; he was going to great extremes to show her that he cared about her deeply--only she just liked him as a friend.

So she emailed me and another girl to ask our advice on the matter. We told her to be firm and just ask him: are you in love with me?

Since we were such great advice-givers, she said she would BCC us on her email to him so we could see what she ultimately said to the poor lad. Only she accidentally CCed us instead. So here she was, crushing this poor guy's heart, and he could see that she invited two of her friends to witness the show. "I don't love you, and also, meet my two friends."

Ouch, that's gotta sting. She reports that he actually took it really well, which I assume means only lots of yelling and name-calling and no physical assaults.

Got your own horror story? Pocket call from hell? Web-cam shenanigans? Social media snafus? Get it off your chest by sharing it with the world. E-mail it to me at cory.casciato@westword.com and tell me if I can use your name or should anonymize you.

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