I think it is great that email is now the default form of communication for everyone from soccer teams to friends on an ad hoc joke list. I just have one request — please use the BCC line. This protects everyone’s email address so that each recipient only sees the sender’s email address and not all the other recipients. There are many advantages to this but the first is that it protects everyone from the “Reply to All” button. This is a very powerful button and should never be used lightly. I am not talking about an email going to a few co-workers where you need to know who else saw the message. I am talking about messages that are fundamentally one-to-many broadcasts of information.
Another reason is to protect my email address from your friend’s computer. I’m sure my computer is virus free. I’m pretty sure your computer is virus-free but what about that guy’s? I heard a recent statistic that 80% of Windows computers are infected with some sort of malware, trojan, spyware, or virus. If that is the case, harvesting email addresses must be a favorite pastime of those cute little programs. If you have a big juicy email message with dozens of email addresses, the temptation must be too great. I’m sure that’s one way to get a bunch of spam.
By simply putting all the email addresses in the BCC line, they are all hidden from the recipients. Every email program should support BCC. This is a staple of email. Some programs hide this functionality in a menu or preference but it is there. You do need to have at least one valid email address in the TO line so put yourself. Some programs allow you to create groups in the address book. Look in your group and see if there is an option to hide individual recipients. This will do the same thing as BCC showing only “undisclosed recipients”.
If you often need one-to-many communication consider a list serve. This allows you to broadcast your message and allows the recipients to cancel their subscription. This works well if it is a recurring message like a newsletter.
If you need many-to-many communication use a list serve or a web-based bulletin board. This is the best way to have your communication and allow all to participate.
No attachments please. If you are sending a message out to a bunch of people, don’t attach that 6MB video you just downloaded. The mail server now has to store and send a copy of that message for everyone on your list. A 6MB file to 100 people could fill up the server’s hard drive fast. Instead, just send a link to the video. You can send the original link where you found it or post it on your own site and just send a link back to your site.
–End of Rant–