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Jason Pawlak

Husband, Dad, Navy Officer, Coder, and Tinkerer. I have many interests and am always looking to learn something new. This site is a launching point to the many areas of the Internet that represent me.

Email Etiquette… It’s the law (well not really)

Some people need to just plain learn how to use email.

Now if anywhere in this post I offend you by criticizing your current email usage… well, I can’t say I’ll be sorry. At this day in age though, certain things just need to be known about writing emails.

We all know the little things like make your font readable and colors viewable… we all know that WRITING IN CAPS IS THE SAME THING AS YELLING… SO DON’T DO IT! But let’s delve into a few other less noted details.

My biggest pet peeve while holding conversation back and forth, whether related to a technical issue at work, or the weekend plans, is this… Reply with history… PLEEEEEASE. I’m sorry world… I didn’t put my life on hold, waiting… on the edge of my seat, sitting on my hands, just watching for the screen to flicker and increment my inbox by one. Sometimes I can’t remember what I wrote to you… especially if its over a weekend and Monday morning when I arrive in the office I have a message in my inbox that simply states…

Yes... that sounds great, can we have that done by lunchtime Monday?

I can confidently say I will have no idea what you’re talking about. I do my best to not think about work at all during the weekend… and that’s not a struggle, believe me. Reply with history folks… it is for the good of all humanity.


Have you seen that commercial about the unlimited texting or something… the Mom is talking to her daughter and the daughter is talking back in all those acronyms? I get a headache just watching that commercial and attempting to understand what’s going on. Listed below is the official list of acceptable non-English words

- brb [be right back] - lol [laugh out loud] - haha [computer laughter] - np [no problem] - btw [by the way]

Let’s have none of the silly crazy acronyms like…

- CD9: Code 9 Parental Units Nearby???? - IMNERHO: In My Never Ending Remotely Humble Opinion???? - JK: just kidding... I hate this one with a passion...

Yes I know I’m bordering on talking about instant messenger conversations and not just email… but sorry, this is my post :-P

(And yes, I approve of all smiley faces as long as they are easy to understand what they are representing)

Sometimes with acronyms I have no clue what they are… or like the first and second ones on the don’t list… are pretty ridiculous. When my friends and I were little we just had a code word or something we’d say when someone was walking near the phone when we were talking about something we didn’t want anyone else to hear. I think we said some type of fruit… Looking back, my parents probably thought I was pretty strange. They’d walk into a room and hear this much of my phone conversation:

Yeah, and did you hear about... (pause) ...grapefruit?

Now a note about email signatures:
I love them! The sillier the better. A guy at work here has one that is a gif animation of a fly fisher. I get a report from him once a month, and I enjoy seeing his signature every time. Let’s just not get too carried away folks. A signature is a place to provide personality along with your contact info… but I don’t want any spastic flashing colors, or animations of people/stick figures getting shot/stabbed/run over/committing suicide or any other something that someone walking by my cube would stop to take a second glance at.

And finally I will talk about the three fields that are such a mystery to so many… To: Cc: Bcc:

Let’s knock them off one at a time shall we?

The people that the email is addressed to should have their addresses placed in the To field. If the email is an FYI for someone, their address does not belong in the To field.

In both examples, President Bush is the recipient we are concerned with.
Example 1 (good usage): I’m writing an email to President Bush telling him that I approve of his immigration reform
Example 2 (bad usage): I’m writing to members of congress to remind them that the status quo sucks and even if the entirety of Bush’s plan isn’t perfect, its better than what we have now.

The Cc field, which is an acronym for Carbon copy, is just that, it’s a carbon copy. You know how when you go to the store and they give you a carbon copy of a receipt that you had to sign? Well this is the same thing. The email is meant for someone else (the store needs your signature on the receipt) but you are getting a copy to just for your records… Cc is an FYI field.
Use the previous examples for To:, just switch them around, bad -> good and good -> bad… got it?

Blind carbon copy is what we’re looking at now. This is probably the least used field. When you put an address in the Bcc field, it means that they don’t need to know whom all the email is going to. They will just see that the email was sent to them, but won’t be able to see any other addresses in the email header.
Example: I am sending out a mass email to all the members of my website forum. I don’t want their personal email addresses out in the open… so I address the email myself… To: and then I Bcc: everyone else

Got it?

Email is a great tool and great way to stay in contact with people you don’t see all too often. Let’s make sure we use it correctly though.

If you just skipped down to the bottom of the post and haven’t read anything else… just read this.

Do you have any other Email Laws you’d like to post?

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