Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Forwarding mail: DO's and DON'Ts

As email times progress, we all see more and more chain mail, letters, and just random forwards. Sometimes these are completely lame, sometimes, they have been around for years, and sometimes, they are just plain scams.... in this post, I will address some items related to proper ways of forwarding email, quickly checking the validity of a forward, and respecting the privacy of others... Forwarding DO's:
  1. Address the email to yourself (in the "To") field, and put all your recipients in the "Bcc" field. This is especially important, if you are sending the forward to many people who may not know each other. This is a privacy issue, not to mention that some people may be irritated that their email is just flyin' around in forwards.
  2. If the email you received is a forward, then make sure to clean it up before you send it. a lot of times, forwards will have the headers of previous forwards, which contain the emails of other people that you don't even know. of course, had other people followed the forwarding etiquette and put the recipient in the "Bcc" field, then this wouldn't happen. don't be like them. Also, emails tend to have the ">" before each line, and more of those everytime the email has been forwarded (if the client is setup to do so) , so now your forward is just a bunch of ">>>>>>>>>" with a couple of words on each line. Not very pleasant to read.
  3. If the forwarded email was contained in many attached messages, make sure you open the very last message that actually contains the forward, and click on "forward" on that particular message. If you had to click 17 times before you go to the forward, don't make others have to do it as well.
  4. Check for the validity of an email that sounds fishy, or even not, especially ones that either promise money, or as you for donations and whatnot. There are many sites that can help with that, one of which is, also, remember, google is your friend, just ask a question there, and 99% there will be an answer about that particular forward, and chances are, it WILL be a hoax.
  5. If people people happen to ask you to remove them from the list, do respect their request, and remove them. There is enough spam out there that people can't successfully opt out of, don't make yours one of them :)
Forwarding DON'Ts:
  1. Don't forward every single forwarded email that you receive. Remember, if you are a fanatic about reading jokes and whatnot, not everybody else is.
  2. Don't forward all types of forwards to all your same friends. Some friends can tolerate more jokes than others, and some rather just get forwards that deal with a new discovery, or something else of their interest. An easy way to do this would be to create a couple distribution groups in your email client/address book , and selectively send the forwards to these people.
  3. Don't send forward stuff to everybody in your address book, just because the email said that if you don't forward it, then you're going to be sat on by a big elephant, or you're going to have 13 years of bad luck. Trust me, it's not true, so don't worry about it. If you think that the contents of the email are intriguing to you and some/all your friends, then by all means, just don't do it because the email threatens you about it!
  4. Don't overdo it!!!I don't care if it's your best friend, if you send them 15 forwards everyday, they're going to play the opt out card on you, as mentioned above, be selective, pick the best ones that you think your friends will enjoy, and do your cleaning up shananigans on it before sending it, they will enjoy the read much more than have to scroll 3 miles before reaching anything readable.
I hope this little guide helped a little bit. I am surprised everyday at the forwards I get. I had thought people would eventually catch up to good forwards, and/or good forward etiquette, but I guess not. Happy Forwarding!

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