So you are now on the
"WEB" or "NET" and you have your nice new e-mail address, - what now?
Well if your
e-mail address is supplied by your Internet Service Provider and uses
part of their name in your address, i.e.. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com then you unfortunately have a
very harrowing time ahead.
Over the next ten years or so of your surfing the
web you will pass your e-mail address to hundreds of correspondents and
put your e-mail address on many automatic mailing lists and subscribe
to clubs / societies.
You are also likely to change your Internet
Service Provider several times over this period (due to changes in
service quality, pricing structure, availability. eg. in 1999 LineOne
changed from being a free access no phone charges provider to a
chargeable one, in 2000 NTL increased it's charge 50%, many other
"free" or "cheap" services become so overloaded it is very difficult to
connect to them and they are slow to respond).
Each time you change your Internet
service provider you have to change your e-mail address (they own and
control it, not you - and it's a great way for them to keep your
business as many people can't face the prospect of an e-mail address
change). When you do change the address you have to inform all your
correspondents and go through a complicated process to change your
details on the automatic mailing lists and subscription services,
forums, clubs etc.
There is an answer to all this future hassle -
before you get too many years of contacts built up -
Get your own independent personal e-mail and web
address (you can keep it all your life, you can use any Internet
Service Provider that you like, change the provider as often as you
wish, your own e-mail address just points to whatever e-mail services
your current Internet Service Provider supplies to you.. Imagine your
very own personalised e-mail and webspace address - permanent, never
changing, always the same for years and years, a rock of stability in
an ever changing world.
|Check with GenProxy
for further details of Lifetime personalised e-mail and webspace
address or click this link
to more than one person?
sending to a few individuals? Then Use CC:
Use the BCC: function for mass
to a mailing list? Use BCC:
Most of today's email users are young enough to
have never used real carbon paper and probably have never received or
seen a true "carbon copy" in their life. So it may not be too
surprising that the carbon copy (cc:) and blind
carbon copy (bcc:) functions in e-mail software are
misunderstood. Maybe, in fact, it is time that we rename them EC: and
BEC: for Electronic Copy and Blind Electronic Copy.
The cc: function sends a copy of the email to that person(s) on
the cc: line, as well as, to the person(s) listed in
the To: portion. Everyone will see the email addresses of all
that received copies of the email.
The bcc: function hides the addresses of the
recipients on it's line from whomever is listed in the To: and cc:
lists. This is the perfect way to send emails to multiple people on a
mailing list, since the blind copied person will see only his/her own
name and address in the header. Nothing wastes time and patience as
much as having to scroll through pages of email addresses to get to the
meat of the email message. When you are sending an email to a group
mail list or (especially!) to a company-wide mail list, send the email
to yourself (using To:) and put the mailing list group name or
nick name on the bcc: line.
(Can't see bcc:
in Outlook Express? when creating a new e-mail click 'view' then click
'all headers' )
Use upper and lower case letters
The only thing harder to read than ALL CAPS is MiXeD lEtTeRs
ALL CAPS IS CONSIDERED SHOUTING!
all lower case letters probably means that the sender is a c#
programmer whose real message is: i crave attention. For best
readability and credibility, use both upper and lower case letters just
like your English, French or German teacher taught you.
Know your audience : - Should you
use formal or informal writing in the body of your email? It depends on
who is receiving it. Err on the formal side; keep it formal if you
don't know the person well or at all. Salutations aren't really
required, but you can use just plain "Dave" for informal or "Mr. Smith
" for formal.
Put a meaningful title on the subject line, Keep the email subject
short. Make it meaningful. And, don't send something that might be
confused for spam. If you send an email with the subject "Here's a Deal
for You!" their email spam filter or the recipient themselves may
delete it unread.
Watch the punctuation!!! The
exclamation mark (pronounced, bang) is the most overworked punctuation
used in email. Use it seldom, if at all!
Replies to sender(s) We recommend
that you set the default value in your email client to only reply to
the sender, not the sender and all of the other cc: recipients. It is
just too easy to hit reply and talk about last nights party (or worse)
with the sender, forgetting that everyone else will also see the reply.
In the body of the reply always include a snippet of the original text.
If you just reply "Yes" to an email, the receiver will probably wonder,
"Yes, what?" Just as bad, is to include all of the original text along
with the header information. Highlight the unnecessary text with your
cursor and delete it. Put your response after the quote. Email
Etiquette says do not be a novelist. Keep your comments short and to
the point. ----------------------------------------
Don't reply to an email when you
are angry. ---------------------------------------------------------
One more thing: Don't reply to an
email when you are angry about its contents. Cool off first. Or if you
must attack the keyboard while you are in the mood, at least store the
message off in the draft folder for a while. You'll be glad you did. Be
careful what you send - Email is not private nor is it secure. Do not
send an email that you wouldn't want your boss's boss to see or you
would not want posted on the bulletin board. Remember it has your name
and email address attached. You can't even send your best friend in
manufacturing that cute story. He might forward it inappropriately
without removing your header information. (See Replies above.) All
companies today have policies stating that email is for business
purposes only. Assume that your emails are being read by a monitor -
they often are. And, nearly all companies are paranoid about liability
-- especially since the role of emails in the Microsoft/DOJ antitrust
trial has been well publicized. Even if you delete an email, it
probably still exists on your hard drive, on the server's hard drive,
and on the server backup.
The following is intended to offer guidance to users of
electronic mail (e-mail) systems, whether it's a twelve-year old
computer nerd's BBS, (bullitin board system) one of the Internet
Service Providers like AOL, Tiscali or Wannado, or the world of a
company office Intranet. Although it's geared towards users of the
afore-mentioned services, it has sections that apply to all types of
e-mail systems. This is not a "how-to" document, but rather a document
that offers advice to make you more computer-communication-literate and
to prevent you from embarrassing yourself at some point in the near
Don't Be A
Messages should be concise and to the point. Think of it
as a telephone conversation, except you are typing instead of speaking.
Nobody has ever won a Pulitzer Prize for a telephone conversation nor
will they win one for an e-mail message. It's also important to
remember that some people receive hundreds of e-mail messages a day
(yes, there are such people), so the last thing they want to see is a
message from someone who thinks he/she is the next Shakespeare.
Don't get caught up in grammar and punctuation,
especially excessive punctuation. You'll see lots of e-mail messages
where people put a dozen exclamation points at the end of a sentence
for added emphasis. Big deal. Exclamation marks (pronounced "bang" in
computer circles) are just another way of ending a sentence! If
something is important it should be reflected in your text, not in your
The Legacy Of
Although this is the 21st century, not everyone in the
world has e-mail software that has the word wrap feature (word wrap
saves you from having to hit the Enter key at the end of the line).
There are still a large number of users with dumb (and not so dumb)
terminals and software that do not gracefully handle text longer than
the old punch card length of 80 characters. Therefore, keep the number
of characters per line below the 80 character limit. Some modern e-mail
packages have a built-in feature that automatically word wraps at a
specified character limit so that the problem is essentially solved.
However, if your software does not support this feature, you'll just
have to remember to use the big Enter key again.
Formatting can be everything, but not here. Using HTML,
or heaven forbid the microsoft Rich Text Format, to format messages so
that they have fancy fonts, colors or whatever is asking for trouble.
There are still lots of e-mail clients (and some servers) which can not
handle messages in these formats. Some free email services (hotmail,
talk21) have limited space for each clients email, the recipient of
your fancy font HTML email will be really pleased that your large email
file has used up a great chunk of his/her free space.
(hotmail. yahoo Gmail etc have
recently increased their allocation of space to 250 Mb to 1 Gb so for
these services using plain text is no longer necessary)
BTW, IMHO, you shouldn't use
abbreviations. ? --------------------------------------------
Should you use the common abbreviations and smileys in your message? A
good rule of thumb is to not use them except in very informal messages
to peers that you know understand them.
usage is quite rampant with e-mail. In the quest to save keystrokes,
users have traded clarity for confusion (unless you understand the
abbreviations). Some of the more common abbreviations are listed in the
table below. I would recommend that you use abbreviations that are
already common to the English language, such as
Beyond that, you run the risk of confusing your recipient.
|be seeing you
|by the way
|for what it's worth
|for your information
|in my humble opinion
|or best offer
|rolling on the floor laughing
|read the funny manual
|there's no such thing as a free lunch
|ta ta for now
|talk to you later
Part of the nature of a good one-on-one conversation is
the use of visual cues. How important are facial expressions and body
gestures to a conversation? A simple eye movement can mean the
difference between "yes" and "YES". What about auditory cues? The
results are the same.
Since there are no visual or auditory cues with e-mail, users have come
up with something called "smilies". They are simple strings of
characters that are interspersed in the e-mail text to convey the
writer's emotions (cues). The most common example is
) Turn your head to the left and you
should see a happy face (the colon are the eyes, the dash is the nose
and the parentheses is the mouth). Here are some more examples.
|Wink (light sarcasm)
|Devilish grin (heavy sarcasm)
|Shock or surprise
|Frown (anger or displeasure)
There are also graphic smilies, you can usually
find free downloads of them on the 'net
(caution - free may only mean you
do not pay cash for them, the true cost is that they often carry
a hidden payload of AdWare
or SpyWare - always read
the Licence agreement before clicking "accept")
They are typically used at the end
of sentences and will usually refer back to the prior statement.
I would recommend you use these
sparingly. There are dozens of these things and their translations are
by no means universal (a miss-interpreted smilie could lead to a flame).
To make sure that both yourself and your regular contacts are using and
understand the same abbreviations and smilies - send them a copy of this page.
The question here is "How
personal is too personal?" or to be more specific, how do you open your
e-mail: "Dear Sir", "Dear Mr. Jones", "Dave" or "Hi"
Well, Is it business or personal?
How well do you know the person? How would you address them in a
letter? you must use your own judgement here.
Once you send that first e-mail, you will probably get a
response. If you want to reply to that response what should you do? The
wrong thing to do is to start a new e-mail message. This breaks the
link (called a "thread") between the original message and your
soon-to-be-created response. Without the link, it can get difficult for
the users on each end to follow the sequence of messages, especially
after several exchanges. This becomes an even larger problem when you
are dealing with newsgroups (more later) where several people may be
replying to messages and trying to follow the thread of exchanged
information. The correct thing to do is to reply, which is essentially
the same thing as creating a new message, but maintains the thread.
If using Outlook Express you can
choose to view your messages arranged in threads or the usual
chronological order. To swap the view : - Go to Inbox or Newsgroup, on
the View menu, point to Current View and
then select Group Messages by Conversation. To
display expanded conversations for messages, Go to the Tools
menu, click Options, click the Read
tab, and then select Automatically expand grouped messages .
Nothing is more wasteful than to reply to an e-mail by
including a complete copy of the original with the words "I agree"
, "Okay" or "Yes" at the bottom.
The correct method is to use quoting. This is best
explained by an example:
do you agree with the idea to hire Mr. Jones to
>manage our HR department?
Yes. Please make the
The '>' in front of the text indicates to the
recipient that this is quoted material from his/her last e-mail
message. The second sentence is your response to the quoted material.
The key with quoting is to include enough material in the quote so that
it will be relevant to the recipient. Imagine that the original message
was a hundred lines long and the only question that required a response
was located in the last sentence. Why send the whole message back in
the reply? That would cause the recipient to scroll through the hundred
line message again just to find your response at the bottom.
Quoting can occur again and again as in the example:
do you agree with the idea to hire Mr. Jones to
>>manage our HR department?
>Yes. Please make the necessary arrangements.
Arrangements made. Our
first meeting is scheduled for tomorrow morning.
From this we see both two level quoting (>>) and
one level quoting (>). The (>>) indicates that the sender is
quoting your quote and the (>) is a quote of part of your message
you sent in reply. Don't get hung up in quoting. After so many levels,
all you end up with is a line of ">>>>>>" and very
Sometimes I think that the best thing that could happen
would be for someone to take away the printer. Why? Every time I send
an e-mail out to a large group, a third of the group will print the
message even before reading it, a third will read it and then print it,
and the last third will simply delete it. One of the goals for e-mail
usage is to eliminate (or greatly reduce) the shuffling of paper, but
what chance does that have if a significant number of people are going
to print every message they receive. I'm not saying that all messages
should not be printed. I'm saying that too many messages are printed
for no reason (a lot are printed and never retrieved from the printer).
modern email clients (programs) can save all your messages on the hard
drive system in named "folders" that can be used to
permanently store messages for recall at any time in the future. If the
same people who print messages for paper file systems would create the
same structure in the e-mail system with folders as they have in their filing
would accomplish the same goal, but would save an enormous amount of
paper (and trees).
Privacy ? HA !
the following statement: there is no such thing as a private e-mail.
I don't care what anybody says, swears or states,
there is really no such thing as a private e-mail. Despite
the release by the U.S. government of "private key / public key"
encryption technology allowing it's world wide use.(to enable secret e-mail messages for example), other
governments, including the U.K.'s are bringing in legistlation which
will make it a criminal offence - if you refuse to divulge the
contents of your messages and/or hand over the decryption key when
asked. It is
entirely possible that the U.S. government released the encryption
technology having already devised a 'backdoor' crack allowing them to read these
supposedly secret e-mails.
With some e-mail systems, the e-mail administrator has the ability to
read any and all e-mail messages. It appears that Gmail (google
email) may keep copies of all emails cross referenced by recipient / sender
/ subject / content - WHY? well it helps them to target relevant
advertising at you, the fact that governments have not put a stop to
this invasion of privacy may be due to the fact that Google's terms
& conditions when you sign up to Gmail, allow them to give access
to any government agency that asks for emails & contacts.
Some companies monitor employee e-mail (a form of censorship). The reasons for this obtrusive
behavior range from company management wanting to make sure users are
not wasting time on personal messages, slandering or libelling a third party for
which the company fears it may be sued, or making sure that company
secrets are not being leaked to unauthorized sources.
E-mail software is like all software in that occasionally things go
wrong. If this happens, you may end up receiving e-mail meant for
another person or your e-mail may get sent to the wrong person. Either
way, what you thought was private is not private anymore.
Somewhere in the world there is a person (usually a hacker) who is able
to read your e-mail if he/she tries hard enough. Of course "Tries
hard enough" is the key. It's not that simple to read another person's
e-mail (usually) . (Usually) there are security measures in place to
prevent this from happening, but no security is one hundred percent
What is a "flame" or specifically what does it mean "to
be flamed?" To be flamed means that you've sent an e-mail to a
person(s) that has caused that person(s) to respond in many,
not-so-nice words. It's basically a verbal outburst in electronic form.
Sometimes the reason for a flame is quite obvious (keep reading), but
in other cases you just never know. You might send what you think is a
harmless e-mail to ten people. Nine people respond in a rational tone
while number ten sends you a flame. How do you respond to a flame?
Tough question. The best answer would be to ignore it and go about your
life as logical and rational human being. If this is not your first
reaction, it probably will be after you've been flamed a couple dozen
times. You will find out that responses just aren't worth the effort.
If you do choose to respond you will probably end up in what is
known as a "flame war". This is where two or more people end up
e-mails for an
extended period of time, usually to the point that users start making
references to one's mother, one's mental capability, etc... At some
point, all those participating in the war will eventually forget what
originally started it and go back to being normal human beings. Never
been flamed? Well if you are begging for it, I would suggest one of the
following: Send an e-mail in all
UPPER-CASE. Use of upper-case words is the equivalent of shouting
in some one's ear. ONLY use upper-case words when trying to make a
point (such as I just did). Even at that, you should be careful with
who you are exchanging messages. Make a
comment about grammar or punctuation. Nobody wants to feel like
they are exchanging e-mail with their English teacher.
You would think that since e-mail is electronic and
electronic information is suppose to move at the speed of light, your
e-mail message would arrive seconds after you have sent it. If you're sending e-mail to the person in the office
next to yours on a LAN (local area network) it might happen that way. In most
cases, however, the message will probably take anywhere from a couple
of minutes (majority of the time) to a couple of days (in which case
there is usually a problem). The reason it takes longer is that in the transmission of
a message from point A to point B, the message may travel via one, two,
or up to who-knows-how-many different types of mail servers before it
reaches its destination. Remember the
earlier statement? All computers (and e-mail systems) are not the same.
No matter how far away you are sending your e-mail message I'll
guarantee that it will beat snail mail. On top of that you save the
cost of a stamp.
Your e-mail software may also give you easy access to
newsgroups. At the simplest level, a newsgroup is a collection of
related e-mail messages tied to a specific topic. Some examples might
be a newsgroup for users of microsoft Word, a newsgroup for the fans of
the works of Dickens or a newsgroup for owners of
handmade bicycles manufactured in Barton (Lincs UK). If you see a list
of the available newsgroups, the topics are quite diverse and amazing.
Anyway, on to more important items.... Don't call a newsgroup anything
but a newsgroup. They are not forums. They definitely are not BBS's.
They are newsgroups. Nothing more. Nothing less. Before posting (think
of it as sending an e-mail message) to a newsgroup, I would highly
recommend that 1.) you monitor it for a few days (called lurking) to
make sure the newsgroup's content is relevant to your interest, and 2)
read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section if there is one. FAQs
usually will provide a statement of direction for the newsgroup along
with any other guidelines for its usage. Following these two tenets
will help you avoid that dreaded flame. If you find that you want to
post an entry to a newsgroup, make sure it's the right group. Posting a
message for help for Microsoft
Word in a Mac newsgroup won't get you anywhere
other than a possible flame.
One last no-no for news groups is called "spamming".
Spamming is repeatedly
posting the same message to a particular news group(s) for no other
reason than to be obnoxious or to advertise a product or service that
you offer. This is definite flame war bait.