It’s probably the number-one wish for our email programs–the ability to UN-send email we regret we shot off in haste. Suffering from email remorse, we frantically Google search a means to snatch that message out of cyberspace only find out that there really is no way to reel in email once it’s sent. But now there’s a LITTLE help out there.
Google Mail recently added an un-send feature that took six years to develop. The catch? You’ve only got a window of up to 30 seconds to retract your email. That’s because Google Mail really just holds your email in Limbo for a duration of time that you set: 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds.
[In Google Mail] Navigate to your “Settings” pane in the menu directly below your profile photo and you’ll be given the option to “Enable Undo Send,” along with a drop-down that lets you customize the cancellation period for the feature: five, 10, 20 or 30 seconds […] Keep in mind Undo Send won’t help if you wake up riddled with regret the morning after sending a novella-length email to an ex. But if you’re giving your words a final once-over after sending and find a typo, you just might have time to rescue it from the clutches of the Internet before your incorrect use of “there” is immortalized in someone else’s inbox.
Don’t have Google Mail? Check out set-up instructions.
Of course, a major reason for email regret may be that we fire off a message that we later consider to be uncharitable. I’m being kind in that description, but you know those emails written in haste out of self-righteous indignation in which we write things we really wish hadn’t spewed forth from our keyboard. When we deal with topics of religion, or if we are known by the reader to be a Christian/Catholic, we add scandal, no? The way we communicate can effect our evangelization efforts in even passive, nuanced ways.
To help avoid email regret (or any other type of nasty communication) altogether, we highly recommend Fr. Z’s Prayer Before Logging onto the Internet.
Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.