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"Say it, don't spray it." I've used this little saying before, and it apparently made an impression on some of my readers (who, of course, wrote to tell me about it). But some of you are still not getting the message(including many of MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY). When I wrote that line way back when, I was talking about using the Bcc line to prevent all your e-mail recipients from seeing each others' e-mail addresses. It's not just the courteous thing to do (and I'm nothing if not an e-mail etiquette advocate, though not always the perfect practitioner), it's also quite necessary in these times of
And what IS the Bcc line? You've seen it there, right? Below the Cc line? (It's available in any email program, whether you use Outlook, Windows Mail, Outlook Express, Gmail, Yahoo!...) When you add names of your recipients to the Bcc line instead of the To line, you prevent all those e-mail addresses from being spread all over digital kingdom come. I gave my e-mail address to YOU, not to your sister and her friends and their relatives and college roommates.
When you add someone's e-mail address to the Bcc box, a copy of your message will be sent to him, but his address will not be visible to anyone else receiving the message. And when should you use the Bcc box?
Before you use Bcc line, make sure your intended recipient is expecting it. That person may need to take steps to establish you as a safe sender (or a safe recipient, if your name will be in the To line of the Bcc message). See, lots of spammers use the Bcc line to try to wriggle their way out of the junk mail filter (I hear their screams and it fills me with glee), so many junk mail filters automatically flag messages using the Bcc line as junk.
I know that it's hard to know exactly HOW to encourage your email pals to use the Bcc line; telling them that they're endangering all of you and your computers can often be misconstrued as criticism. As I well know, you can lead your friends and family to the Bcc line but you cannot make them use it. How about YOU be the example that they can follow?
"Junk is the ideal product... the ultimate merchandise. No sales talk necessary. The client will crawl through a sewer and beg to buy." — William S. Burroughs
Thank you! I continue to ask friends to use BCC ....years ago my neice sent an email and cc'd a dozen friends. Next thing I know I'm waiting for an urgent email message for work and a darn photo journal of bouncing bunnies is downloading. I was so mad I shot off my own crabby email...little brat dissed me to everybody. I didn't talk to her for ages. I don't miss her. I wouldn've missed my job if I wasn't finally able to junk her friend's email and get to the one I needed for work that day.
Jayne: Ha! You made me laugh out loud - thanks. I don't know why people are so crabby about a little recommendation regarding spreading our email addresses all over kingdom come...but they are. Your niece is missing out on an obviously clever and courteous auntie.
That being said, sometimes les is more: Instead of getting all harsh and crabby with the offenders, link them off to my post and tell them someone sent YOU there once and now you're passing on this nugget of good information...
Glad I provided a menu for you to get this out of your system!
Bcc users unite!
One question though, why does the BCC always seem to be hidden on the Select names screen instead of on the main email screen with CC and subject? Cant you have a word with the powers that be over at Microsoft to have it added by default to the screen (I know I can redesign the email form to add it)?
@Richard: I'm flattered by the notion that I have any control over the so-called "powers that be"... If you're using Outlook, you don't need to redesign an email form; all you need to do is choose to "show" it once and it will appear every time you create a message from then on after.
How to show the Bcc box:
- Outlook 2010: office.microsoft.com/.../prevent-recipient-names-from-showing-by-using-bcc-HP010354934.aspx
- Outlook 2007: office.microsoft.com/.../prevent-recipient-names-from-showing-by-using-bcc-HP010256041.aspx
- Outlook 2003: office.microsoft.com/.../show-or-hide-the-bcc-field-HP001019709.aspx
Don’t stop blogging! It’s nice to read a sane commentary for once.
Your article is very useful. Thank you.