WidowPC Gaming Computers - Email Ettiquette aka netiquette
You may be a computer gamer or a gamer's parent or a parent who is also a gamer (like me). One of the things I've seen this holiday season is something that I think many of us take for granted.
Veterans of the information age who have grown up on the latest advancing in
gaming computers, tend to take for granted the knowledge of how to communicate electronically. However, if you think about it, it's a pretty complex ruleset that we've simply picked up as it has evolved. For instance, most of us understand that there are different rules for communicating over instant messenger than over workplace email which differ wildly from a myspace message.
So, whether you're a web veteran or a veteran's still-adapting mother (hi mom),
prepare thyself for the 10 commandments of email etiquette...
1. Thou shalt not be sloppy in email
Keep it rated "PG"... Puctuation and Grammar! Use informal
puctuation, grammer and spelling in email. Don't let your texting thumbs
get their opinion in here. This includes capitalization. Sculpt your email to
it's audience. Be more formal if writing to superiors or
subordinates. Be less formal when writing to friends and family. But
always maintain the "PGs." Examples: "Don't" instead
of "Do not", Use "Talk to ya later" not "ttyl".
2. Thou shalt not run on and on in email
Use an appropriate subject header. If you have more than one item to
discuss, send it in a separate email. If you are forwarding an email
conversation you'd have with someone else, summarize it in 3-4 sentences up
front. Stick to the point and quickly get to the point. To soften
the message, wish them them well at the start of the message, deliver your
message, and wish them well at the end of the message. Because there is no
body language associated with your message and tone is hard to convey, be
explicit in your friendliness. Think of it as a sociable
Subject: Christmas shopping date
I'm so busy today but I love it. I hope you are having a great day as
well. [conveys general happy mood]
I'd like to take you up on the shopping date. How is 12:30 tomorrow, at
the mall? My car or yours? [the meat of the message; note the
informal, sentence fragment for the friendly email.]
Best, [conveys best wishes]
J [If I email this person multiple times per day or very friendly, I
just use my first initial "J"]
3. Thou shalt not use ALL CAPS in email
For some reason, some people think that using all caps or no caps is acceptable.
It's not. 99% of the Internet population can't stand it.
Capitalization is there for a reason. It makes the beginning of a sentence
stand out almost as much as the punctuation and spacing. It separates
thoughts and breaks them into understandable bits. Sort of like taking a
breath during a face-to-face conversation. If you still think using all
caps is great, imagine listening to someone talk who never takes a breath and
talks in a monotone voice. Not fun.
4. Thou shalt not abuse BCC and CC in email
The most sensitive part of email communication is the audience. My advice
is use BCC only for sending an official message for public consumption to a long
list of people in which you do not want a group reply. Ie, a public email
to the entire company. Don't use it to secretly CC someone on a message to
someone else. This is consider a sneaky tactic. If you want to CC
someone, do it upfront and honestly. Let the recipient know that there are
other people who care about this message. However, don't CC a person who
doesn't really care about the message. If you CC them, be sure that they
want to see the message in their inbox.
5. Thou shalt not use email to avoid confrontation
If it's a sensitive topic, either phone or face-to-face work much better.
The worst miscommunications happen in email because there is no subtle tone or
body language. Bite the bullet and talk with that person. You're
asking for trouble if your message has any emotional content and you deliver it
via email. Follow up with an email to document the conversation, if
6. Thou shalt not expect privacy in email
Email is not private. Say it with me. Email. Is.
Not. Private. If you send it to someone, expect it to be forwarded
to the masses. There was a book written recently, Great
Email Disasters, the sole reason for this book was to catalog some of
the world's worst email blunders. As long as you are comfortable with your
email being reprinted in the New York Times, send it. Email is not a place
for private thoughts, sexual innuendo, spats with a significant other, or any
other emotional message (see #5, Thou shalt not avoid confrontation).
7. Thou shalt spare the group in email
One-to-many emails are the ones that get you in really hot water. Don't
hit "reply-to-all" unless it's really required. In fact, remove
it from your email tool bar so that you have to make an effort to reply to the
group. If you are initiating an email, only include people who really need
to see the message. Don't email the larger group because it takes some
time to figure out who needs to see the email.
8. Thou shalt not even think about forwarding chain letters or
"fun" attachments in email
Chain letters are a fast track to getting put on most people's "trash"
filter. I'd love to see the stats on how many people have lost their jobs
after sending virus ladden "fun" attachments. Don't send them
and don't open them. Don't send "warning" emails. If
someone sends an attachment to you that you weren't expecting and don't need,
archive it or delete it. Politely explain to that person, in-person, that
you don't open "fun" attachments that might have viruses in
them. If they really want you to see it, make sure it's from a reputable
site (YouTube.com videos are a common, fun and virus-safe link).
9. Thou shalt not use sarcasm or nuances in email
Be very explicit in your thoughts, feelings and message. It is very easy
to misunderstand an email. Don't try to use bold or italics to convey
vocal inflection. It generally comes of negatively. If it's
something you want to emphasize, call the person and make sure your emphasis is
clear, then ask the person if they mind if you send them a quick email with the
details. Something that does work is emoticons.
There's a wikipedia link to learn more about emoticons if you don't know what
they are. They can quickly convey your mood. However, limit your use
of emoticons to, at most, one per email. Otherwise, you may appear
unprofessional as emoticons are still considered very informal and more
appropriate to a text message. :)
10. Thou shalt be considerate and intelligent in email
Every enjoys a considerate, intelligent person. Be good to each
other. The first 9 email etiquette "thou shalts" all
relate to being considerate of other people and intelligent in your
communication. Do this and you will appear wise in the eyes of your peers,
professional and competent to your superiors and enjoyable for everyone
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