E-mail. Inarguably, it's one of the most important technological innovations of our time. Love it or hate it, the majority of us can't do without it either professionally or personally--or both. Fielding and composing e-mail takes up an ungodly amount of my time, so I have a deep appreciation for the many intricacies and annoyances that can go along with it. What follows is a handful of guidelines that are meant to make e-mail a little less exasperating.
We all deal with an overabundance of useless e-mail in our in-boxes, so above everything else, DON'T be a spammer. There's no need to forward every little cutesie e-mail you get to every person on your contact list. If you happen across a particularly funny joke or compelling picture that you know a specific individual will enjoy, by all means add a little enjoyment to his or her day by sharing it. However, DO delete chain mail immediately--you'll be doing all of us a favor by keeping it out of circulation.
Also, DO remember that BCC is your friend and use it where appropriate. Be aware that when you're organizing plans for or disseminating information to a large group of people, there's generally no need for any of those individuals to reply to anyone but you. This should be an obvious guideline when it comes to professional communications that are not intended to inspire a discussion among the various recipients--press and marketing e-mails, for example--but it's also a nice courtesy for your friends and family in many cases. Not only does BCC keep recipients' e-mail addresses private, but it prevents them from receiving unwanted messages in response to the initial one.… Read more