DogwoodNC's Email Etiquette Tips
The following is a list of some of the most important DOs and DON'Ts to remember when sending informal personal email.
When sending an email to several people -- and especially to people who do not know each other -- DO NOT list their email addresses in the TO or CC fields. There are several hazards to listing them in the TO or CC fields, even if all of the recipients know each other.
For example -- If your friends forward the email (without "stripping" it, as described below), all the addresses are forwarded to someone else -- who likely will not know everyone on the list. After this process has been repeated a few times, several hundred people (some of whom may be spammers) could obtain your friends' addresses -- and they may begin to receive lots of unwanted spam. By hiding their addresses on YOUR email, you're doing your part to help your friends reduce their spam volume.
By hiding the addresses, you're also respecting your friends' privacy -- especially when the message is sent to people who don't know each other.
In addition, when there are dozens of email addresses in the TO and/or CC fields, the message can become quite "cluttered". By hiding the addresses, you're making it easier for your friends to read.
OK, how can you send an email message to several people WITHOUT listing their addresses in the TO or CC field? Good question. There are several viable options.
If you often send email to the same group of people, you may want to consider setting up an email group. In this way, you could address the email to the group, not to each individual in the group.
You can put YOUR email address in the TO line, and then put all your recipients' addresses in the BCC field. Yes, you'll receive a copy of the email back in your Inbox -- but you'll be respecting your friends' email addresses and helping to reduce spam.
You can set up a "dummy" email name (such as Email List Hidden, Recipient List Suppressed, Undisclosed Recipients, or something like that), using your email address, and put that in the TO field. This method provides the same benefits as the method listed above.
Also related to not circulating email addresses of others, DO NOT forward lists of previous recipients of the email message. If you forward a message, first delete the names and email addresses of all previous senders and recipients. YOUR recipients don't need (or want) to know the entire history of the message.
Better still, instead of forwarding a message, copy the text and paste it into a brand-new email message. ONLY copy the text, not the TO, CC, or FROM fields.
Before forwarding text, DO clean up unnecessary markings, spaces, etc. Remove the >> markings that often appear in the margins.
One way to easily do this is to copy the text to the Windows clipboard, then paste it into the Email Stripper program, then copy it and paste it into a new email message. The FREE Email Stripper program is available at http://www.papercut.biz/emailStripper; it is a wonderful program that makes this cleanup process very easy. Your recipients WILL appreciate your efforts!
If you feel that you must forward a message (instead of copying/pasting it into a new message), DO forward it "as inline text", NOT "as an attachment." If you forward it as an attachment, your recipient will have to open each forwarded message -- sometimes the threads can be several layers "deep" -- which can require a lot of clicking! On the other hand, if you forward "as inline text", the message will appear directly on the page, under your introductory remarks. [If you do this, remember to delete the name & email address of the person who sent it to YOU! See #2 above.)
To forward an attachment (like a graphic or Word document, for example), DO one of the following:
Use the Forward feature, but remember to clear out ALL the TO, FROM, and CC information on the original email message. OR
Save the original attachment to your hard drive. Then create a new email message and attach the original attachment to the message.
DO be careful when sending attachments, particularly very large ones. Music and graphic files are often quite large. Remember, some of your recipients may have slower internet service, or they may have limited space on their computer. Extremely large files can cause their systems to slow down tremendously and even crash!
DO be careful when formatting your text. You may have the capability to type in many fonts and colors, with many backgrounds; however, your recipient may be using a webmail service that only offers "plain" (unformatted) text. Or your recipient's spam blocker or firewall may prohibit anything other than "plain" text formatting. If the formatting is crucial to understanding the message, it may be misunderstood. Also, depending on the recipient's computer setup, unusual colors or fonts that you selected may not be displayed properly. When in doubt, select a "common" font and font color (such as Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman, etc).
DO NOT type in all capital letters. In email, typing in all capital letters is the equivalent of shouting -- and no one likes to be shouted at!
DO NOT forward chain letters, virus hoaxes, and urban legends. When in doubt, check out the truthfulness of the message on Snopes (http://www.snopes.com/) or other reliable source. Also, see Internet Mythology for some additional information.
DO NOT reply to spam. DO NOT click on a "Remove my name from your list" option within a spam message -- all this does is notify the spammers that they have found a valid email address -- which just generates more spam! Just ignore (and delete) spam -- preferably without opening it.
DO be aware of the practice of "phishing" -- where emails appear to come from a known person/entity, but really they come from someone trying to gain personal information. A popular scheme nowadays appears to come from a financial institution or the IRS, requesting your name, social security number, and PIN -- but really it's from someone trying to steal your identity and finances. DO NOT give you personal or financial information to ANYONE asking for it online -- unless YOU initiate the transaction, or unless you're 100% sure that the person/entity is someone you know. You CAN'T always tell by the email address shown in a FROM field, since they can be forged.
And one more thought related to phishing. If you receive an email that looks like it comes from someone you know -- but if the content does not seem consistent with what you know about the person -- DO realize that it may be a phony email. The person's name and/or email address may have been "harvested" by a phisher, and may be being used for sending spam without his/her knowledge and/or permission. For example, if you receive anything "x-rated" associated with my name or email address, you know that isn't from me!
And last but definitely NOT least, DO make sure that your virus checking program is up-to-date, so you reduce the possibility of acquiring any viruses via email -- and so you do not forward them to others. Here are some other tips for keeping viruses out of your email:
If you don't have an up-to-date virus checker installed, GET ONE NOW!!!
If possible on your email program, set it to NOT preview the message automatically. Previewing the message often opens it -- which could allow a virus to be activated.
DO NOT open attachments from unknown sources. Especially be wary of .exe, .com, and .bat files -- but virus writers have become quite innovative, so no file type is completely "safe".
If you're not sure that an attachment really came from a known person, ASK before opening it.
Hopefully these tips will be helpful to you!
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