Top 10 Tech Embarrassments You'll Want to Avoid

How to avoid having this happen to you: Did we mention that it's a bad idea to send e-mail with animations inside?

Getting caught "sprucing up" your own Wikipedia entry is embarrassing. Getting caught doing it for your girlfriend--and then breaking up with her via Wikipedia--can only mean one thing: You're Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales, founder of the online encyclopedia.

In February 2008, Wales publicly dumped former Fox News commentator Rachel Marsden after a brief fling, following accusations that he had changed Marsden's Wikipedia entry to be friendlier to her. She apparently found out by reading a statement he'd posted to his personal Wikipedia page (now since moved to his own blog).

Marsden responded via an e-mail that magically found its way to Valleywag:

"You are the sleazebag I always suspected you were, and [I] should have listened more carefully to my gut instincts--and to my friends. No, in fact, you are much, much worse than I ever expected. You are an absolute creep, and it was a colossal mistake on my part to have gotten involved with you....There is nothing good left to say whatsoever. Goodbye Jimmy, and good riddance."

After sending the e-mail, Marsden sold clothes that Wales had left at her apartment on eBay.

For the record, Wales denies giving Marsden special treatment. We suspect she doesn't think it was all that special either.

How to avoid having this happen to you: 1. Don't date Jimmy Wales. 2. Don't date Rachel Marsden. 3. And if you must date either of these people, don't leave dirty laundry behind.

Tech Embarrassment 7: Good Morning...Now Please Clean Out Your Desk

Firing people via e-mail is truly tacky. Writing a sample fired-by-e-mail message for the bosses to review--and then sending it to the entire company instead--is something worthy of The Office.

But on September 3, employees at a struggling New York ad agency came to work and found the following message in their inboxes:

"I have some difficult news which that affects you and your position with the company. Based on the continued reduction in our client's' spend ...we no longer have a role for you. ...Your last day with the company will be _____________. If you would like to go home today and come back tomorrow to clean out your desk or office, you are free to do so."

According to Roger Matus, author of the Death By Email blog and CEO of InBoxer, that message was to be sent to 10 percent of the employees at New York's Carat agency after approval by senior management. Instead, everybody got it--along with detailed charts, PowerPoint slides, and strategy memos for the as-yet-unannounced companywide reorg.

Did we mention that the person who sent it was the company's "Chief People Officer"? We're guessing there's at least one person at Carat who was asked to clean out her desk.

How to avoid having this happen to you: Get an enterprisewide e-mail management system from a company like InBoxer or Permessa. And, really, drop the cute job titles--it isn't 1998 anymore.

When your computer is hooked up to the big projector in the room, you want to give off a professional impression. That doesn't include intimate chat with your lover boy.

Laura, a tattoo artist in Pennsylvania, was in a computer training class when she decided to check her e-mail.

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