Thursday, February 15, 2007

Email Etiquette

Since Emily Post doesn't say a lot about email I figured I'd step in from time to time and give some things that I like about email and some things that I don't like.

One thing that I like is when people send emails that are easy to read with paragraph breaks, capitalization and punctuation. We read words as words and shapes - not as individual letters so if everything is in caps or everything is in lowercase it makes it much slower to read.

One thing that I don't like is when people mark their emails as "High Priority" and especially when they are not important at all. I just received an email about something that I'm not even involved in and it's a group email marked "High Priority" and there is nothing about it that is of high priority to anybody.

Last tip for today is to use email for communicating but not for conversations. My friend Kevin Sturm taught me this and it's a very good piece of advice especially for those group lists....It's so annoying when a group of people is blasting one line emails back and forth.

To a better inbox,


Scarlett Lillian // Jacksonville Senior Photographer said...

Amen to all of the above!

Daniel J. Watkins said...

Great post. I forwarded it to everyone in my really big company (day job).

I marked it as urgent, confidential, high priority w/ read receipt.

BTW -- why do so many people use the silly read receipt for ALL OF THEIR MESSAGES? What a worthless option. I always check "do not send read receipt" -- I mean who cares if 213 people read (err...opened) the message that says "the copier is broken, a service call has been placed." Who gives a turd????

Oh, wait, back to that Emily Post stuff...

Patricia Wells said...

My sentiments exactly.

Natalie Joy said...



Raya Carlisle said...

That last tip is my favorite. That's why Instant Messaging was invented.

Holritz Photography said...

Wow! Well said! It's amazing to think about the amount of time that is wasted in email!!!

- Nathan

The Alpha Course said...


Just one question - Who is Emily Post?

Darlene said...


Raya - yeah IM or an actual telephone! LOL. People don't talk in person as much any more, than personal touch is lost.

Mark - oh my! Google it. LOL.

My 2 cents - I also hate people that send to a whole group and do not use BCC to hide all the addresses. So you get this whole big list of people's email addresses that you don't know or care about. Then everyone starts hitting "reply to all" and I can a zillion more the same!!! Argh!

The Alpha Course said...

Ah - The Emily Post Institute

right, I understand.

Kevin Sturm said...

Thanks for the shout out DJ. I'm in total agreement.

Another funny thing about email is how people use cc. Every now and then I poll people on what cc means, and it's surprising how many people don't know it stands for carbon copy, and was meant as a way for people who were receiving a letter to know what other people were copied on the letter as well. All parties, the to and cc generally had some responsiblity to respond in some fashion to the letter.

People now use it as a way to include the world on their message, and assume that if you "might" have a task to put you in the cc. If you expect someone to respond in any way, put them in the to field. Cc should only be used if you really just want to include the person on the message, but don't expect them to read it.

A while back I started filtering my mail to immediately move all cc: email to a seperate folder that may or may not ever get read. Funny thing happened...nothing.