Friday, February 15, 2008

Email Etiquette



Since email is the number one preferred method of communication these days, I thought it only fitting that I share what I view as some of the most annoying practices. I would like to point out that although I find them bothersome, that doesn't mean that I'm not also an offender.

Using all caps. - From day one, it's been drilled into my head that if you type in ALL CAPITALS, you're yelling. I hate to be yelled at, don't you?

Forwarding. - Something that makes me want to type in all caps... those who haven't learned how to forward a message so that every previous email address to which the post was sent doesn't appear. How many times have you had to click ten times to get to the meat of the message? Annoying isn't it? The answer is simple...hit forward from the actual message you want to send. Don't close it up and go back to page one and forward or you're sending pages and pages of email addresses. Although I've often been tempted to send every email listed a promotional message about my books, I've refrained. Besides, most people don't want their emails forwarded from one place to another. That's why there's the bcc: line.

Subject Lines - Wouldn't it be nice if we all remembered to change the subject line and make it fit the content of the message? Ever scan through digested messages and find yourself amazed that only one topic was discussed in all the posts? I recently opened a message that said "sad news" and it contained someone's 4-star book review. Didn't seem all that sad to me.

Typing urls with spaces and words - If you're going to give someone a link to your page, why not type it as such? It's so much easier to click on a link than to have to type the whole thing out. Don't use www ginger simpson dot com. :) And if you type it as a link...check your spelling.

Signature Lines - Nothing is more annoying than receiving an email that has a signature line longer than the message. If you're multi-published, rather than listing every book in your sig line, how about using a tag line or a link to where the books can be viewed. Chances are people aren't going to read through the entire list anyhow. Your signature line shouldn't be viewed as a post of its own.

Receiving 'lucky emails' - Please don't send me emails that threaten bad luck if I don't send it on to seven people within the next ten minutes, or promises an outpouring of money if I do. I don't believe yet I'm always afraid not to comply. Spare me the angst.

Digest Users - While I also use digest and realize it's value, the thing I find most annoying about it is being drawn back to a conversation that has already been discussed and settled. As a group moderator, I've often handled someone who's acted inappropriately only to have a 'digestee' bring up the whole settled manner all over again. I'm not sure there's a solution other than reading everything before responding.

As I said, I'm probably guilty of half the things that bother me. I especially get disgruntled at clicking on resonse messages that say, "thank you," "congratulations", "good going." I wonder, wouldn't these best be sent to personal emails, but then it's so much easier to just hit 'reply'. I deplore people who clip their messages and don't give any hint about what they are responding to. These are usually digest people who just read last Sunday's message and are answering on the following Friday. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. Give me a clue. :)

The biggest problem I encounter in email is the lack of tone. People can't see your face, your smile or hear the chuckle in your voice. Don't make them guess when you're kidding. Give them an emoticon clue. :) Of course, then you risk becoming addicted to them and typing them throughout everything, like I do. *lol* goes a long way to giving someone an indication of your tone. Unfortunately, email has taken the place of phone calls and face-to-face meetings, and there are just some things you can't personalize no matter how hard you try.

I'll also remind you to be careful when forwarding emails. I recently found myself in the midst of a giant mess because someone sent a personal email to an entire loop. I didn't do or say anything wrong, but my name was mentioned in the post. No one was interested in an explanation and I found myself invited to go to hell and ostracized by people that once liked me. It was a horrible experience and left me paranoid.

I wonder what would have happened if it had been a post from me in which I actually said something unkind. Misdirected emails happen more often than you realize. Although, as I said, I didn't send the post nor did I have anything to do with composing it, I now make it a common practice to watch what I say. There is no confidentiality in email and what you say might come back and bite you in the butt. I have no desire to have teeth marks in my derrière.

1 comment:

Kim Smith said...

one reason some people (guilty!) post an email addy as kim smith dot com instead of making it a link is to fool the spiders crawling the web looking for emails to spam.

:) love your blog!!

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