This week, I received an e-mail from my stepson’s baseball organization which listed the e-mail of each and every recipient. While I’m not terrified to have my e-mail available to the other parents, I’m not a big fan of people that fail to utilize the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) function of e-mail when sending the same e-mail to a number of people.
This got me to thinking: what are my big e-mail pet peeves, and how can they be stated to help others?
Here are the top five. Please feel free to share these if they help make the world a better place for e-mail.
1. People that fail to use BCC when sending the same e-mail to a large number of people. (See above)
2. People that fail to realize they are hitting, “Reply all” instead of “Reply.” I teach in a large district with over 1500 employees, and over 1200 teachers. Whenever our union sends an e-mail to all union members (a list of licensed teachers), someone always decides to respond to everyone, rather than just the author or a specific person. One of the people I follow on Twitter is a technology integration specialist at another local school district. Some time ago, she posted this tweet (by the way, I used a new app called SuperStash to copy a portion of the Twitter webpage to be able to place this image in this post).
3. People that feel the need to correct the simple spelling errors of others in a quickly-worded e-mail. Usually this is done in a condescending way and also entails the improper use of “Reply All” as illustrated above. I don’t want to excuse e-mails that have been thoughtfully written and sent out to a large mailing list and are full of errors–if a person is not skilled as a writer, they should ask for feedback before hitting the “send” button. But if someone accidentally replaces “their” with “there,” just let it go.
4. People that attach a word document containing just text in an e-mail instead of just cutting and pasting the text into the e-mail. This causes me to have to open the document and close the document–two extra steps–which may seem like a small deal, but when you’re working through your e-mail at work, extra steps are extra steps.
5. People that type in all capital letters, which translates into shouting or heavy accent to the plain-text e-mail or text message reader/interpreter. I usually try to send a calm e-mail to the author of e-mails like this to let them know what “all caps” means to many people. I usually receive an e-mail back from the author stating that they didn’t know that all caps meant “shouting,” and usually were unaware that the caps lock was on in the first place.
There are probably other e-mail annoyances I could come up with, but as with all things technology, a little patience and education go a long way in changing behavior.
If you have other annoyances regarding e-mail behavior, send me an e-mail message, and I’ll include them in a future post.