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Iris Harrison
92.3 KGON, Portland's Classic Rock Station

Iris Harrison's Blog


Email etiquette. Know it, use it!

While thinking of something to blog about, a letter came into my email here at work about the use of company email.  From time to time we have to fill out forms that say we are being proper and businesslike around here, and I'm fine with all of it.  I've heard enough horror stories about people sending dirty jokes or pictures to "all staff" and it just sends cold shivers down my spine. Not that I'd ever send any of those things.  Okay, maybe from home, but not from work.  The list that follows is just good advice for anyone to remember.  I will include my own comments in parenthese and italics.
  1. Your work email is property of the Company.  Anything you send or receive can be viewed, retrieved or saved remotely by a database administrator at any time, with or without notice to you.  Use a personal email account for personal emails. 
  2. DO NOT email when angry.   Count to ten, take a deep breath, and re-read your draft 5 minutes later – and remove any inappropriate adjectives and adverbs in it before hitting send.  (I have learned the hard way on this one...but it was a scathingly brilliant rant.)
  3. DO NOT discuss confidential information and forward inappropriate content.  If you would not be happy to see your email displayed on the front page of the New York Times, don't send it.  Never make any libelous, defamatory, offensive, or obscene comments in emails, even if you intend them as a joke.  (Yeah, copy and paste is just too darned easy.)
  4. DO NOT attach unnecessary files.  Only send or forward attachments when necessary.  Also be aware of the size of attachments; many systems have file size limits that will reject any email in excess of those limits.  (My birth mom still has dial up.  We can barely send a letter to her.)
  5. DO NOT forward virus warnings and chain letters.  If you receive an email message warning you of a new super virus, it is most probably a hoax.  Same for solicitations for charitable causes.  By forwarding such emails you use valuable bandwidth, or worse, potentially spread viruses.  Just delete.
  6. DO NOT reply to spam.  By replying to spam, for example to unsubscribe, you are confirming that your email address is “'live” and will only generate even more spam.  Just delete.
  7. Proofread emails and run Spell Check before sending.  (It's also nice if you know how to use the English language and the proper use of "their, they're, and there."    It's an added bonus if you actually know some of the rules of punctuation.  I weep with joy.  I know I'm not perfect when I write, but I do try.  Go ahead, correct me.)
  8. Do not overuse Reply to All. Only use “Reply to All” if each recipient really needs to see your reply.  (It's as though people feel like they have to chime in on every little comment so they are perceived as a team player.  Stop it.  Stop it right now!) 
  9. Do not overuse the high priority option.  The same goes with the use of words like URGENT and IMPORTANT in the body of the message.  We all know the story of the boy who cried wolf.  (He was eaten, right?)
  10. When sending emails to large numbers of users, add all recipients as bcc’s to prevent inadvertent replies to all.  (My sister-in-law still hasn't figured this one out, bless her heart.  Just an FYI, if you say something bad about a person and follow it up with "bless his/her heart" it's like you never said a bad thing at all.  Ask my Mom.  I learned it from her.)
All good points and advice.  I'd also like to add a couple of other things for my friends and family. 
  • Please fact check any and all political BS that you forward BEFORE you forward it.  On second thought, don't forward it at all, because it will probably cause us to not speak for a while.  On third thought, send it.  It's a good reason for me to not call.
  • Do not send anything with sparkling angels, dumb punch lines, blonde jokes,  threats if the email is not forwarded, or animated artwork.  I will instantly delete these and start deleting all email from sender when I get these.  Also please do not send me anything with corny music in the background that is supposed to inspire me with a picture display.  Do not send Power Point attachments.  My birth father does this all the time since he retired and I don't have the time that he has to just sit in my underwear and read this stuff on the computer like he does.  I must now wash my mind of that visual.
It's all about common sense when it comes to the internet and some people just don't get it.  Excuse me, I must now go to my social networking site so I can see if I have messages that the company can't see.

10/13/2010 11:18AM
Email etiquette. Know it, use it!
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