By Larry Anders, Librarian, Tampa PC
We may not all surf the Internet, but most us have some form of an email address (or
two, or three). The email programs we have available to us today allow for better
communication than ever before, but there are a few rules we should follow and a few
things we should be aware of.
- You should probably consider any message as permanent and that you have very little
control over who will see it. The message may lay dormant for quite awhile on
someones computer until someday someone resurrects it. It may not have been anything
you would have wanted anyone else to see. Remember this the next time you send an email.
- Its always possible that a message can be misinterpreted, causing the recipient to
react negatively. Email doesnt allow for immediate personal feedback. Be succinct
and avoid responding while emotional. If you have to be emotional, use some of the
"emoticons" listed below.
- To avoid receiving a computer virus, proceed with caution when opening an attachment (a
binary or executable file) to the email. If you do not know the sender or were not
expecting the attachment, find out who is sending it and what it is first. Remember,
though, that most attachments serve a purpose, so dont be overly hasty to delete the
message. Likewise, if youre sending an attachment let the recipient know what it is.
- Commonly used acronyms in email messages are: BTW by the way; F2F
Face to face; FWIW For what its worth; FYA for your
amusement; FYI for your information; HHOK Ha ha only kidding; IOW
in other words; IMHO in my humble opinion; LOL laughing
out loud; TIA Thanks in advance; TNX thanks. (Dont
- Commonly used emoticons in email messages are: :-) Happy; :-( Sad; :-||
Really Angry; :-(o) Yelling; :-D Laughter; ;-) Winking; :-}
Grinning; :-o Shocked or Amazed; :-& Tongue-tied; :-# My lips are
;-( Feel like crying; :-o Shocked or amazed; :-* Kiss; X-
Brain dead; :-P Sticking tongue out. (Dont overuse these either.)
- Case sensitivity doesnt usually matter in an email address as it does in a URL or
Internet address. ie., johndoe @tpcug.org is the same as JohnDoe@TPCUG.org.
- Make sure to always include a subject line. That will make sure the message gets read
and if its forwarded to others they will be able to understand the subject matter.
- Try to limit your line character length to 65. Some email programs wrap at the wrong
place which causes the email to be really hard to read.
- If you quote part of the message in your response edit out unnecessary verbiage and
include your reply at the beginning of your message.
- Create a signature file to be added to all outgoing messages. Signature lines are the
letterhead (or rather letter-footer) of your email message. Almost every modern email
program allows you to create a signature file that typically includes 5-10 lines of
contact information about you or your company which is automatically appended to each
message you send.
- DONT TYPE IN ALL CAPS. This is perceived as shouting.
- Dont send entire web pages. Just the link to the page will do.
- Dont attach files larger than 50k without permission from the recipient.
- Always read over your email before sending it and use a spellchecker when possible.
- And last, but not least, sometimes a telephone call will work much better than email.
Know when to post
and when to call!