Monday, January 5, 2009

It's Common Courtesy




From time to time, I feel it necessary to remind those entering the technological realm of email that there are rules of etiquette in place, much the same as when you dine at a fine restaurant. I shall list the top 10 of my own pet peeves, but feel free to chime in and list some of your own in comments.

1. Clean UP: For heaven sakes, when you forward an email that's been around the world, take a few minutes and delete the eternal string of email addresses that show where it's been. There is nothing more bothersome than clicking through fifteen attachments to get to the actual thing you forwarded to me...or scrolling through everyone else's list of recipients, their comments, and subject line. I'm a busy person, I have potato chips to eat and soap operas to watch. *lol*

2. Shorten that Signature Line: If I want to read your book, I'll buy it. Most loops require that your signature line not exceed 3-4 lines. Find a snappy tag line for yourself, then include links to a place or two that features you and your work. I don't want to have to search through forty-nine links and three excerpts to find the meat of your message.

4. Unlock your cap key: Using all caps is akin to shouting. Of course if I've ticked you off in my previous post and given you reason to yell, then feel free to throw those uppercase letters around. If not, type normally.

5. Respect Privacy: If you are sending a message to numerous recipients, use the 'blind cc:' option so you don't share email addresses with everyone. Besides, an email that has five lines of email addys somehow doesn't seem quite so personal. *lol*

6. Think before you hit send: This is a biggie, and not so much a pet peeve as a reminder that once you hit the send button, you can't retrieve hurtful or angry posts. Before you send something that might be considered offensive or injure someone's ego, go ahead and release the steam by writing the message, but park it in draft and let it sit for a while. Then go back and read it. You might find you surprise yourself. This is something I need to work on. Open Mouth, Insert Foot is the same thing as being spontaneous in responding with an attitude.

7. Chain Letters: One important rule here...Don't send them to me. I've got enough going on in my life based on luck, and the last thing I need is something that tells me to forward it to fifty people in nine minutes or the sky will fall on me. Please, stop the madness.

8. Be sensitive: Remember, people from all religions, political affiliations, gender groups, and nationalities read your posts. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

9. Spell Check: Even email has spell check. Use it. Most of the groups I belong to are comprised of authors, editors, and publishers. There is nothing that screams at me more than misspelled words. Once in a while is one thing, but continual? I know we pound out our responses in a hurry, but shouldn't we take time to put our best foot forward? I'm talking on big loops here, people...not personal emails with your friends...they already know you and overlook your laziness. *lol*

10. Avoid Attachments: This isn't always possible, and some people still accept them, but I generally assure them that they've been virus checked and are safe to open. With all the bugs going around and wiping out files, I try to steer clear of opening anything that isn't absolutely necessary. Call me a coward...I've already lost one hard drive and a bunch of valuable files. :(

Okay, so that's ten, but I have to list the most annoying habit of all: People who want everyone else to do their 'leg work' for them. I cannot tell you how many times someone has sent an email out asking someone to resend a link they accidentally trashed. Okay...most of us know your trash doesn't automatically empty itself, so it's there for the finding. If you did really lose it, then try Google or Yahoo. That's what search engines are for. If you put in a key word, you'll be surprised what you can find all on your own.

Okay...so now I've educated you. I think I need to print this off and hang it on the wall in front of me. I'm not above slipping now and then. That old adage is true...when you point a finger at someone...four are pointing back at you!

Happy emailing.

1 comment:

Nocturnal Intellect said...

I absolutely agree! I work on the computer all day and depend on emails for communication not only with friends but mostly with my clients. Having folders to redirect emails and sort them is helpful, but when the time comes when I actually read the ones labeled 'other' and ' funny' it kills me to see hundreds of other recipients email addresses and names. And funny thing is, people who keep forwarding them without erasing miles and miles of the unnecessary display of names are the ones that later complain of getting tons of spam mail. Hmmm, I wonder why that is?

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