Google is being criticized for inserting “Reminder: Call Dad” under its phone dialer icon in gmail yesterday.
Offending the masses used to be the privilege of the few, but these days anyone can post on the internet, send out an email to everyone at work, etc. Perhaps even I, at one time or another, have sent out a few emails that were not appreciated by all their recipients.
I think about the problem algebraically.
q = (a)(b)(c) / (d)(e)(f)
q = likelihood that sending or posting the sentiment is a good idea
a = how much enjoyment the recipients who enjoy the sentiment feel in response to the sentiment
b = number of recipients who are likely to enjoy the sentiment
c = benefit to you arising from recipients enjoying the sentiment
d = how much anger, resentment, irritation, or indignation the recipients who don’t enjoy the sentiment feel in response to the sentiment
e = number of recipients who are likely to experience anger, resentment, irritation, or indignation in response to the sentiment
f = harm to you arising from recipients likely to experience anger, resentment, irritation, or indignation in response to the sentiment
There are a number of interesting ways in which these variables are related, including that (a) correlates directly with (e). Also, (c) and (f) behave sort of as a zero sum, the balance depending on your social/professional position; this is why young people and startups are more likely to post sentiments that inspire anger, resentment, irritation, or indignation.
We love Google because it is a powerful company on top of its field, so (f) will always be much larger than (c), but they often behave like a startup. Keep it up, guys.