Section 12.6. Email Etiquette

12.6. Email Etiquette

Email works much like a normal, person-to-person conversation, yet it carries its own set of potential social gaffes. These short guidelines will help keep you from looking like an amateur .

  • Don't write with all capital letters . This LOOKS LIKE SHOUTING, something few enjoy seeing up close on their monitor.

  • Keep it short . Sum up your letter in the Subject: field, make your point, and then click the Send button. If you have several other unrelated subjects to discuss, place them in separate mails . That makes it easier for the recipient to prioritize them, not to mention find them again when needed.

  • Don't forward chain mails or hoaxes . These mails encourage recipients to forward them to all of their friends , helping spread the word about a poor sick child, an act of bravery, or some newly discovered PC-killing virus. Most people hate receiving these. And people who've spent more than six months on the Internet have probably already seen it. Before forwarding a chain mail or hoax, look it up at Snopes (www. snopes .com), a site that collects hoaxes that continually make the rounds of the Internet.

    If you absolutely must forward a message like this, place recipients in the BCC: field (Section 12.3), or you'll expose their email addresses to thousands of strangers, including spammers.

Moving to a New Address Book

I'm switching from Outlook Express to a different email program. How do I move my address book to the new program ?

Nobody wants to type in several hundred names when switching between mail programs. So most programs, including Outlook Express, show mercy by including an Import/Export area on their menus . That lets you export your Address Book from one program and import it into another.

To export your Outlook Express Address Book to a different program, follow these steps.

  1. In Outlook Express, choose File Export Address Book.

  2. Choose a name for your backup file.

    The name Address Book works fine here.

  3. Click the Browse button, navigate to a convenient folder (like My Documents), and then click Next.

  4. Select the fields you want to export, and then click Finish.

Here, the CSV Export box lists all the fields in your Outlook Express Address Book. It turns on checkboxes for the most common fields like Name, E-mail Address, Home Street, and so on, as most programs also use those fields in their Address Book. Feel free to turn on all the checkboxes, though. That gives you a complete backup of your Address Book for emergencies.

When you click Finish, Outlook Express gathers the selected information and saves it in your selected file and folder.

Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo!, Thunderbird, Gmail, and other mail programs all support the CSV format for importing contacts from another program. Find the Import option on your new program's menus, and then tell the program to import the CSV file you've created from Outlook Express.

The new program reads your exported Address Book information, and then dumps everything into its own Address Book, making sure to place everything in its correct field, but with one catch: if the new program doesn't offer a certain field"Nickname," for instancethat Outlook Express does, the new program simply discards the information. Similarly, the new program leaves blank any fields that the Outlook Express doesn't offer.

  • Reply to an existing message rather than starting a new one . When you receive a message discussing "Upcoming Mars Trip," click Reply from the toolbar. Your email program automatically renames the subject to "Re: Upcoming Mars Trip," helping every recipient keep track of the conversation. If you click Create Mail from the toolbar to reply, and then name your response, "Martian Holiday," you've broken the thread, in email lingo. The original discussion breaks into two separate subjects, making them much more difficult to track.

  • Watch the sarcasm . Email carries the impact of the printed word, but it's often phrased conversationally. Since the reader can't see the smirk on your face as you type, your sarcasm rarely comes across. Leave it out unless you know the recipient very well.

  • Don't send flames . When an email really upsets you, don't immediately return fire. Wait a day or so to cool off. Even better, discuss it in person; you may be mistaking a misguided attempt at humor for anger.

  • Don't send too many attachments . One or two baby pictures, properly resized (Section 5.5), can be a treat for relatives. More photos than that, and you're consuming a lot of somebody's time and mailbox space. Instead of mailing them, post them on a photo-sharing site (Section 5.5.2). That lets the recipients view them at their leisure.

PCs: The Missing Manual
ISBN: 0596100930
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 206
Authors: Andy Rathbone

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