My email pet peeve

Let’s face it. Even with all the various communication tools the internet has given birth to, email is going to be around for a long time. After all, mankind has been writing letters for a long time and we still do even with the advent of email two dozen years ago.

The utility of writing letters remain the same, whether in the real world with pen and paper or in the digital world through email, which is to convey a message.

Personally, I still prefer certain kinds of messages, like cards and love notes, on paper rather than an email. The card my wife hands to me on Valentine's Day, or the Father’s Day card my son crafts, have an inexplicable power to stir up emotions that electronic communications can't match.

On the other hand, one characteristic of anything borne from the internet is instant gratification and email delivers (no pun intended) in that regard.

But just like letter-writing in the real world has etiquette, emailing does too. One thing I’ve noticed for quite some time now, and is a pet peeve of mine, is the liberal use of the “carbon copy” function – including many recipients on a message – which is exacerbated since one can add recipients to their heart's content with ease, through the click of their mouse or touch of their finger, in the "CC" field.

In some cases, for example when one needs to send the same message to several family members, carbon copying seems appropriate. But too often I’ve been on the receiving end of a chain email or mass mailings of jokes that the sender simply carbon copied everyone they knew. That action enabled me, as well as all of the other recipients, to see every email address the sender carbon copied.

Arguably, one may say, “I don’t care if you saw who my social circle of family/friends/acquaintances are,” but it only takes one bad apple, perhaps a recipient who happens to be a salesman, to turn those visible email addresses as an invitation to send solicitations. Although not the only reason our inbox is full of junk mail, aka spam, it does happen more often that you can imagine.

So what are you supposed to do when you have an urge to send a mass email where the recipients may not know others in your recipient list? The etiquette is to list the recipients in the "blind carbon copy" or “BCC” section instead. Listing your recipients in the BCC field will send copies of the email without exposing any of the recipients' addresses.

With the current climate of privacy in the digital world increasingly questioned and often breached, your conscientious use of CC or BCC, depending on message content and intended audience, should be appreciated!

Tak Sato

Business and technology strategist/consultant with over 25 years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and MBA from Cleveland State University.

As founder of geek with a heart, "Hand-holding You in the Digital World", Tak helps Individuals, Seniors, Families, Small Businesses, Schools, and Non-Profits utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

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Volume 7, Issue 19, Posted 8:42 AM, 10.06.2015