The Seven Digital Sins

“Only a few years ago professors rarely encountered marketing in the Ivory Tower. When we did, the marketing had substance — book dealers with free review copies of books, office-supply vendors with reorder requests, discounts on scientific or literary publications, and the like.|Now we’re deluged with ploys that have little to do with our academic interests or lifestyles, simply because we visited an Internet site or ill-advisedly clicked. We’re list-served, spammed, flamed, taunted and, occasionally, tempted. But mostly we’re desensitized by hundreds of unsolicited pop-up offers transmitted daily via dozens of gadgets at home and at work.” Michael Bugeja

The Seven Digital SinsChronicle)

Here’s one of the 7 virtues: “E-mail Abstinence: Use the medium to praise colleagues, schedule meetings, and distribute agendas, along with other mundane tasks. Never correct, set the record straight, or criticize anyone via e-mail or attachment.” This is excellent advice, though very hard to implement in cases where your only contact with a person is via e-mail. I often invite students to run thesis statements by me before they start working in earnest on their papers. It would be hard to give honest feedback if I practiced e-mail abstinence (as Bugeja defines it). I do think it’s a good idea to ask yourself, “Would I like this e-mail to be pasted up on my office door?”