E-mail having been around since 1996, and most literate folks having gotten on the bandwagon by 2000, a decade should be sufficient time for us all to’ve gotten used to it, and for the novelty to’ve worn off. Why, then, am I still getting mail with “Fwd Fwd Fwd Fwd Fwd…” in the Subject line? Why are people still sending me mass mailings in 24 boldface font, three words to a line, and with a lifetime supply of exclamation points?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why is the message preceded and followed by a meter-long list of recipients’ addresses? And why am I instructed to “Hit forward and send this to everyone you know”? If you’re under eight or over 80 years of age, you get a pass from me. The rest of you, please heed:
1. A To or cc field with inches of addresses says, “Not serious; not businesslike”. When you send these out, you’re failing to protect your friends’ and others’ privacy. Learn to bcc.
2. Subject lines containing “Fwd” are spam magnets. Delete “Fwd” both in the Subject line and in the body of the mail.
3. Learn to compose a decent Subject line. Examples of the lame and the annoying: “Important! Please forward!”; “Hi”; “ " (that’s an empty Subject line; the first two examples might as well be empty, as they give no useful information whatsoever).
4. Trim off all excess “froms”. We don’t need to read them, and it’s annoying to have to scroll all the way down to Antarctica to read a mail.
5. Read through what you’re about to send. Ask yourself what impression it gives. Oversize lettering and multiple colors screams, “Written by a fourth grader!” Consider selecting the entire letter (Ctrl + A), going to your Format menu, selecting Rich Text, and adjusting the font(s) and color(s) (Format menu > Font). If you’re really ambitious and have the time, fix the double spaces and dial back those exclamation points. Correct spelling wouldn’t hurt either. And finally…
6. I don’t need to be told to forward mail any more than I need to be told to tell people my opinion on an issue or my impression of a product; it’s implicit. And can we lose the expression “Hit Forward” and “Hit Reply”? First of all, none of us should be hitting anything. We press keys on our keyboards, i.e., “Press Enter”; “Press Escape”. We click buttons using our mouses, i.e., “Click OK”; “Click this link”. And we simply forward mail…after performing all of the above steps.