Don’t Nod If You Can Wink

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Martin Lomasney, an old West End political boss from Boston, is best remembered for his warning to young politicians everywhere — “Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink”. The saying is updated on his wikipedia page by none other than Eliot Spitzer — “never put it in email”.

And it bears repeating in the modern era — any communication (by law, for a public official ,and, in fact, for most of us) is potentially public, a cautionary tale for emailers and texters of all ages.

Three current news stories make these point in devastating fashion —

– Microsoft executives had their own emails (lodging personal complaints about the shortcomings of the Vista operating system) discovered and released publicly as a part of a class action suit.

– Detroit Mayor was caught perjuring himself based on a series of raunchy text messages between himself and someone who was not his wife.

– And lastly, ironically, Mr. Spitzer appears to have left an extensive trail implicating himself in a prostitution ring.