Personal ponderings from a natural night-owl!

Email Etiquette

Email is NOT new. Email as we know it has been around for at least 25 years. If email were a person, (s)he would be well past drinking age and probably married with kids by now.

I apologize if you’re the choir and I’m preaching, but I need to get this out of my system.  (In my defense, I lasted almost a year and a half longer than John at Taste of Tech before blogging this.  He has particular problems with #7 and #9 ).


1.  DON’T forward ANY email that says, “Forward this to all your friends.”  Ever. Period.  You know the old question, “If you friends all jumped off a bridge…”  Expect a terse email back if you send these types of emails regularly to me.

2.  DON’T forward every “funny” email you receive, and especially don’t forward them to me.  I’ve probably already seen them.  MAYBE send me the occasional REALLY GOOD ONE if you truly think I’d enjoy it.  Only my dad can get away with sending every dumb email “joke” email he gets – and even HE is going to get reprimanded one of these days!

3.  DO use the “bcc” – blind carbon copy – line and not the “to” line if you insist on forwarding the types of emails listed in #1 and #2.  If you don’t use BCC, you have just potentially sent my email address to thousands of people without my permission.  That makes me grumpy.

4.  DO check SNOPES.COM before sending me a “warning” you received via email.  I know you are well-intentioned, but the thing against which you are warning me is most likely bogus, wrong, or outdated.

5.  DON’T send an email that says only, “Thanks.”  And especially don’t “reply all” with a “thanks” email!


7.  DO use “Reply All” if you answer via email a question I emailed you with other people copied in.  Otherwise, I just have to forward your message to the other people, which wastes my time.

8.  DON’T click on any links in email.  Copy the link location and paste it into your browser.  Just because your friend sent the email to you doesn’t mean your friend checked it for viruses OR didn’t pick up a virus from another “friend.”

9.  DON’T send an email with a blank subject line.  It only takes a few seconds to title your email.  If it’s important enough to send, it’s important enough to title.  I know people who won’t answer or even acknowledge emails with blank subject lines.

10. DO keep all emails you send for at least a year, if not longer, and DO create a folder filing system for your incoming emails.  It’s simple, it’s fast, and it saves me from having to re-send something you should already have.

So there you go.  I feel so much better!

Before I posted this, I did an informal survey of my Plurk friends.  Their most annoying pet peeves were #1, #2, and #9.  It’s nice to know I am not alone!

So do me a favor and email the link to this blog post to anyone you know who is still email illiterate.  And if a friend sent you to this blog post, don’t be mad, be grateful!  For every one friend who tells you that you are annoying, there are probably 10 who are thinking it and letting you stay that way.

Comments on: "Email Etiquette" (2)

  1. So I should send this link to everyone in my address book, and tell them to send it to all of their friends? I’ve checked Snopes, and that picture is accurate. Some poor guy really did get strung up like that. Will it be more credible if I add a lot of exclamation points?

  2. I love your site!

    Experiencing a slow PC recently? Fix it now!

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