Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Email: The Seven Deadly Sins

I'm on email a lot. I have a work account and a home account, and I check each at least once a day. Having zero patience causes me to twitch when I get certain kinds of emails. I know the people who send them are well meaning, nevertheless, I twitch. As a public service, I thought I would share these email faux pas to help improve the quality of In boxes everywhere, or at least for the two people who read this blog. Please don't be offended if you see any of your email behaviors described here. Just stop engaging in them.

The Email Imperative - The subject of these is usually something like "MUST READ" or "Best Email I Ever Got". I delete these without reading them. I never used to, but after opening and reading hundreds, I discovered that I didn't want to read any of them. What they are is important to whoever is sending them, but not to me.

Lengthy Attachments - Eight single-spaced pages about the fight to save the Red-Crested Leaf Muncher is just too much to read. I get a headache just scanning these attachments. If they can't convince me that the Red-Crested Leaf Muncher is worth saving in three sentences or less, then all I can say is "Sayonara". Probably craps on my car anyway.

Must Forward - Similar to the MUST READS, but now they want you to annoy 20 of your friends with whatever petition has them excited at the moment. I especially like the ones with the veiled threats that something bad will happen to you if you break the chain. Please don't think me a terrible person, but guess what, I'm breakin' it.

Got It Already - Often I get an email from someone who never bothered to notice that whoever sent it to them sent it to me too. Now I have to delete two crappy emails. Before you hit that SEND button, do me a favor...check the addressees on the email you are forwarding to make sure you're not gonna make me twitch twice.

The "Middle Man" - I have email correspondents who faithfully forward stuff to me with never a single word of greeting or personal comment. As little as: "How are you, thought you'd enjoy this" would be nice once in a while. There was an email making the rounds a while back that attempted to explain this behavior. The gist of it was..."even though I may not write anything, my sending you these emails means I'm thinking of you". The way I read that is: You're not worth 30 seconds of my time for a short note, but I'll keep sending you these lame jokes in case I ever have to borrow money.

The Sob Stories - Little Timmy has an incurable disease, but before he moves on, it would make him soooo happy to see this email sent to at least 100,000 people around the world". This is like the "MUST FORWARDS", but with a maudlin twist: How could you let little Timmy down by not forwarding this. One in a thousand of these (if that) is legit. Usually it's some shut-in trying to relieve the boredom in his or her tedious life. (Timmy, if you're really out there, I'm sorry, but the chain be broken.)

Funniest Joke Ever - I get some funny jokes and cartoons in my In box, but not one of them ever followed the subject line: "Funniest Joke Ever". Humor is a subjective thing; if your sense of what's funny is similar to mine, then it's likely we'll laugh at the same things. If you're sending me emails titled "Funniest Joke Ever", trust me, your sense of humor is nothing like mine.

Have you got it or shall we review? I love hearing from you, and will always reply promptly and enthusiastically to your emails unless you commit one of the seven deadly email sins. No, no, don't thank me. It's what I do.


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1 comment:

The Whiner said...

Amen, Father dear, Amen.