Monday, June 18, 2012

Keep Your Voice Down

The receipt of an email recently reminded me that even in this high tech digital world there are certain conventions and courtesies that we should consider. Some are just plain good manners. Others have some significance for security. The email in question was from a friend pointing out the release of a new movie that she thought all her friends should “absolutely go see.” The email was addressed to more than 50 different people. That in itself is not a problem. The way she addressed the email was. She put the entire list of addresses in the “To” field of the email header. In so doing, everyone that received the email also got the names and email addresses of the entire list.

The correct way to address an email that is going to a long list of unrelated people is to put all the addresses in the “Blind Copy” field. That way nobody who gets the email gets all the addresses. While this missive may have been harmless it did provide an easy way for would-be hackers to harvest a list of active email addresses.

There is another downside of sending a single email to so many addresses. Some ISP (Internet Service Providers like Fuse, Road Runner, etc.) will tag such an email as spam and block the delivery.

Speaking of email etiquette, the use of all upper case characters IS EQUIVALENT TO SHOUTING AT SOMEONE. Long gone are the days that computers could only display upper case letters. Keep your voice down when writing the next email.

Be careful when you use the “reply” feature. There are usually both a “reply” and “reply all” function. If you use the latter you send the reply to all addressees on the original email. There have been instances when entire corporate networks were brought to a standstill because several people used the “reply all” function. The number of replies can grow exponentially.

Finally, in my opinion the most important suggestion is don’t give someone your email address if you only look at the in box once every third Tuesday of the month. There is no sin in not using email. You will not be looked down on or shunned from your circle of friends if you chose not to use email. You will be considered rude if you don’t reply to a request or invitation sent you by email after you provide an email address. Providing an email address is just like giving someone a phone number. If you don’t answer your phone you shouldn’t tell someone to call you. It is the same with email.

Most of these hints are just common sense things. SO BE SURE TO READ THEM OVER SEVERAL TIMES.

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