I don’t wish to sound bitter, especially on such a lovely summer day, but I’m getting more and more irritated by e-mail issues and I wanted to address some of these issues here. I’m sure you will now adjust your opinion of me and realize that, far from being the fab woman you thought I was, polite and filled with gratitude for the world at large, I am in truth constantly irritated by breaches of e-mail etiquette that seem to bother no one but me.
Let me set the stage: I receive approximately 400 emails a day that I have to open and read. I’m not complaining; I love my e-mail life. I love the work I do. I love hearing from friends and family. Just the other day my cousin in Florida, whom I rarely see or speak to, sent me a fabulous piece about how there is no such thing as a true soul-mate. Reading it allowed me to sleep better that night; it helped me realize that I am not missing anything by not having a man in my life at this time. So please do not misunderstand or get the idea that I don’t like e-mail. Quite the contrary.
There are e-mails I hate though, and I will list them for you here in the hope that you hate them too and I will feel better about myself for being so petty.
Let’s start with the e-mails that promise that, “if you pass this on to ten people, good things will happen to you.” Even worse are the ones that say bad things will happen to you if you do not. I’m in marketing, so I understand that the strongest reason people buy is fear. Fear that there won’t be any left if they don’t act immediately. Fear that not having something will lessen the quality of one’s life. So I’m sure that on some subliminal level, the “bad things will happen to you if you do not pass this on” e-mails work better than the “good things will happen” ones, but either way I don’t want to get them. First of all I don’t believe in that stuff, but second, and most importantly… what if I’m wrong? Sometimes I do forward these e-mails out of fear that I might be wrong about the consequences of not doing so. but then I also recognize that maybe other friends and family hate them as much as I do. I imagine that when they get them they experience the same e-mail rage I do. They must think, if you were truly my friend, why would you send me something that says if I send this to five of my best friends a million dollars will walk in my door and shout, “I’m here. Finally here! Yay!” Talk about unfulfilled expectations. And as for the ones that say something bad will happen to me if I don’t pass them on within five minutes, if you were my friend you would realize that I might not have time to respond within the next five minutes. So now you have ensured that something bad will happen to me. Nice.
I also hate it when I send an e-mail and someone replies, “Thank you.” I realize that in life, if we are together, saying thank you when I open the door for you, is polite. I try to use my pleases and thank yous as much as the next person, but seriously, I do not wish to open an e-mail from you that says nothing more than “Thank you.” Does that mean I have to send you one back that says, “You’re welcome?”
And, then there are the e-mail replies that simply say, “Okay.” If I send you something asking you to PLEASE do something, don’t send me an e-mail back saying, “Ok.” Please. I assume you will do it or let me know otherwise. You do not have to say, “Okay.” It’s a waste of cyberspace, and let’s face it, the Information Highway is already the most crowded highway in the world.
Last but not least of my pet peeves is the ‘reply to all’ button. This button should be removed from all e-mail programs. Reply to all is not your friend. Usually those who reply to all are trying to show you one of the following things:
1. How brilliant they are. I’m so smart that you all need to know my opinion of what the sender sent.
2. I am on top of all things.
3. I am the most articulate person in the world.
So, that’s it. I feel better already. Just letting you all know how I feel has made the start of my week better. Please don’t forward this to everyone you know. They really don’t want to receive it.