Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Fix your e-mail

Merlin Mann at 43Folders has a post about 5 annoying e-mail “tics” he wants you to lose. Here are the tics and my response to them:

    1. The liberal use of the “VERY HIGH PRIORITY!!!” flag. Remember that if you call “wolf” all the time, people will stop listening. I try to use the little red exclamation mark as little as possible.
    2. The 18-line sig about all the Bad Things that will happen to me if I ever reveal the contents of your privileged, confidential (and unencrypted) message. I’m removing this message from my sig today. I think I can condense it down to this: “Stuff in this e-mail is confidential, so if it’s not for you and you use it, our legal department will come after you.”
    3. The unrequested press release (and the serial ignoring of the “Unsubscribe” I sent you for the previous seven press releases). This drives me crazy too.
    4. The graphical background, font and table tags, and remaining 14k of HTML cruft associated with every. single. message. you’ve ever sent. I totally agree with this — if you do this, stop it now.
    5. The including of my — plus 98 other strangers’ — personal email addresses in the “To:” line of your friendly reminder about Tyler’s birthday party. Please learn to use the BCC function, you will find it liberating.

I have a 6th to add and it’s something that I am guilty of:

Ridiculously long signatures that have all of your phone numbers (even though there’s probably one number where people can realistically expect to reach you), your mailing address, your e-mail address (chances are good that your e-mail address is at the top of the message), your webpage (I go back and forth on how useful this is), your instant messenger handles for AIM and Skype (unless you really want someone to whom you send an e-mail to start sending you IMs or call you via Skype, this is not information you should be sharing — the exception would be if calling you with Skype is the best phone to reach you on), any additional gack (I used Plaxo to generate my sig and it ads a bunch of advertising for itself at the bottom).

I am affecting all changes listed above the second I’m done with this post.


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