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Internet Family Fun Home > What You Want to Know About... > Email Etiquette

Email Etiquette

Don't Start A Family Feud Over Email
Sending email to family and friends is a fantastic way to communicate. There are no long-distance telephone charges and the recipient doesn't have to be right by the phone to get your message. What is really great about it is that you can send jokes, pictures and other files but that is where some people get into trouble. Here are some guidelines for email etiquette so you won't start a family feud.

Keep It Short
If you want your email to be read, keep it short and straight to the point. Format long messages so that it can be scanned by using paragraph headers, just like these tips have been formatted.

Ask Before Sending Attachments
Some people will not open attachments because of the virus risk so why send them if they won't be opened?

Don't Send Huge Files
That 2.5 MB video may be the greatest thing since the invention of the computer but people on slow dial up connections may be get upset if you send it. On a slow connection, a 2 MB file takes around 15 minutes to download. If you have permission to send attachments don't send files larger than 100 KB to dial up users unless you ask first.

Be sure to check the authenticity of the email that you are going to forward before you send it. It only takes a minute to go to snopes or Scambusters to find out if there is any truth to the email.

Remove The Junk
There is nothing worse than trying to read something with six forward signs (>>>>>>) in front of each line and all the past forwarding headers. If the joke is that great that you want to share it, clean it up.

And Speaking of Jokes
Did you ask if they the recipient wants jokes forwarded to them? You don't have to forward every one that you come across! Send jokes that you know that the receiver would enjoy. Also be sure to ask the recipient if they want jokes that are colorful in nature because they might not care for them or they have kids that use the same email program.

Just because you come from the same family or close friends does not mean that you share the same political views. While I respect other people's opinions about their political party and I am willing to listen, I get very upset when I get an email that bashes my candidate or is full of inaccuracies meant to discredit my candidate or political party. I'm not alone in feeling that this is a personal insult because the sender doesn't respect me enough to let me have my views and/or they are spreading lies. If you happen to get an email that is full of politics, read it and enjoy it, but don't pass it on unless you are sure that the intended recipient shares your political views and you check the facts. Trust me, passing along a political email to a person with different views not only does not change their views, it only starts a family feud with ill feelings.

Use The BCC Option Whenever Possible
When sending an email to a group of people, use the BCC (blind carbon copy) option instead of CC option so that everyone won't see the long list of email addresses on the email. This should be done for safety reasons because stalkers have infiltrated groups of friends by seeing a group of email addresses, then sending to one of the people saying they know the other person. Using the CC option and then forwarding with other headers produces a long list of email addresses that spammers would love to get their hands on.

Sending Pictures
I love to get pictures from family and friends! To me this is one of the greatest features of Internet! If you want to send a lot of pictures to many people, why not create a photo album online? That way you can just send the address to your friends, then they can go look!

Forwarding With AOL
If you use AOL, copy and paste a forwarded message into a new email. When a person using AOL forwards a message that had been forwarded to them it sends each forward as an attachment. A person on a regular connection, using Outlook Express has to open each attachment by clicking multiple times. A piece of mail that has been forwarded four times will take approximately 12 clicks to be able to read it.

Be Emotional
Remember that when a person reads an email they can't see your facial expressions. Add a smile face :) or a frown :( so that the reader can tell your mood when you wrote something. For example, "That Linda is something else" can be clarified by adding a smile face if you mean it joking or with a frown if you are trying to convey that Linda is a disappointment.

Don't Give Out Other People's Email Address
Many sites offer the ability to "Email This Page". It is a great service if they have a certified privacy policy. Some sites harvest the email addresses you enter and then sell them to spammers.

Don't Get Mad
Did you send a joke and not get a reply? How high of an email volume does this person have? As for myself, I get on average 100 email messages a day (spam, discussion groups, jokes and business email). If I replied to every single message I would never be off the computer.

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