Last week, a colleague e-mailed another colleague and received a reply that included mention of her breach e-mail etiquette in not using the recipient’s name at the start of the message.
Apart from the fact that using a name at the start of a message isn’t actually a commonly accepted e-mail etiquette requirement, there’s the question of whether or not it’s bad manners to point out someone else’s etiquette faux pas.
E-mail has made communication faster and easier. Unfortunately, that isn’t always a good thing. A few points to remember when e-mailing include:
- Don’t forward any of those Bill Gates (or any other money-sprouting person or corporation) messages that will pay you $1 for every person you forward this to type of e-mails — they’re hoaxes.
- The same goes for the various sappy stories of sick children’s hospital bills being paid by AOL every time you forward an e-mail (find out more about this inbox junk mail at Snopes).
- Put your real name at the end of the message (LOTRfan2003@hotmail.com won’t mean a lot to the average recipient).
- Don’t type the message entirely in capital letters because in the online world this is considered shouting. Try it on a message board and I guarantee the net police will be on your case in minutes.
- Similarly, don’t write the whole thing in txt talk. It’s annoying.
- Don’t put 17 exclamation points at the end of every sentence. It’s also annoying.
- It can be hard to convey sarcasm in an e-mail and sometimes humour is lost. If you want to ensure the recipient is in on the joke, throw a smilie : ) in at the end of the sentence.
- If you’re sending an e-mail to more than one recipient send it to yourself and use the blind carbon copy function to send it to everyone else to avoid passing on e-mail addresses.
If you want to know more about e-mail etiquette, Email Replies explains how to send effective replies and why e-mail etiquette is necessary.
My dear old mum always used to say I was as subtle as a sledgehammer and while I know not to chew my toenails at the dinner table or address the Queen as Dizzy Lizzy, there’s a whole world of rules I don’t know. Miss Manners is the chick for the job, and the Washington Post carries a selection of her columns.