My blogmate asked me yesterday if we have strayed too far from the original purpose of the blog (which had something to do with helping others survive their mid-late 20s/early career). This is RJ's passive-aggressive way of making a statement, or asking me to get back on message with the blog. And didn't he say this was the year of the bold and direct RJ?
While I disagree with his methods, he's probably right. I've been blogging about whatever I've been thinking of, rather than thinking about keeping a common theme going here. So I'll use this post to talk about a universally misused communication channel: internal, company email. More specifically, this is about the (mis)use of distribution lists.
The Red ! - Outlook users of the world are familiar with the red !...it is supposed to signify that a message is important or urgent. I have not used this feature in the past three years, and I don't think it has impacted the ability for me to get my point across via email. When I receive emails with the Red !, I typically ignore them - especially when they are sent to a large group. My thought here is that nothing that I really do at work is urgent, so if the email is marked with the !, then it must be directed at someone other than me. I also think that if I get enough people to start ignoring the !, then maybe people will just stop using it altogether.
Plz and Thx - Stop it. No more abbreviations in email. These aren't time savers. It's more difficult to find the 'z' or the 'x' than it is to just spell out the damn word. Oh, and abbreviations are even worse if they are in a ! email. If an email is really important, than you should probably take the time to use your grown-up words. Abbreviations are only okay if you aren't sure how to spell a certain word. If you struggle with the spelling of 'congratulations' then I'll accept the use of 'congrats' but you should probably just give in to the power of the dog, the paperclip or the squiggly line.
Reply All - I don't understand why, but people still struggle with this one. If you only want it to go to the sender, then just hit reply. If you want it to go to everyone on the distribution list, then reply all. If you aren't sure who to send it to, just ask yourself if everyone on the distribution list would be able to pick you out of a police lineup. If not, then your opinion/reply probably isn't important to the entire group.
The Forward - This is what Hotmail accounts and great aunts are for, not work email. If you start out an email with "I usually don't send this type of thing at work, but..." then you should just look in the upper right hand corner, find the X, and click on it.
The Giveaway - People in our office (and probably most offices) try to pawn off their unwanted stuff in email all the time. That's where the title to this post came from, in case you were wondering. Actually the title came from a post that RJ started about a month ago, but he hasn't written it yet, so I felt like it was okay to steal the title. Anyway, I have witnessed solicitations for dogs, cats, furniture, pizza, old laptops, and even a house in the past couple of years. This is not okay. I don't want your stuff. Well, pizza is okay, but not the others.
The Re-purposed Out of Office Message - So you're going on vacation and getting ready to tell the world via automated response that you are not going to get back to them. Take the extra five minutes necessary to scan your out of office message to ensure that it accurately reflects the date and seasons. I have a folder of my favorite out of office messages. I have some that say things like 'happy holidays' that I received in late April. Are you really that excited about Arbor Day or is this your first day off since Christmas?
The PSA - There are lots of great causes out there. I know this. If you want to advertise one of them, use the bulletin board or the bathroom door. These are public spaces. My inbox is my personal space. If your coworkers didn't know that it was election day and use your email as motivation to get out and rock the vote, then there's a good chance that they really didn't read up on the candidates/issues. So do you really want them to vote?
So that's it. A blog post that relates back to the YIFY value proposition. I hope you're happy, RJ. Oh, and if anyone has any great examples of these, plz post them as comments. There might be a free cat in it for you. Thx!!!