One of the first things most of us learned to do when we began using our computer was electronic mail or “e-Mail”. Before Texting and Social Media became popular mediums for communication, and after hand writing letters and post cards became “old-fashioned”, corresponding via e-Mail has been a blessing for many who desire the ability for fairly instantaneous transfer of digital content. As high-speed Internet service is enjoyed by most connected users, the use of e-Mail for sending larger and larger “payloads” has become common.
With the efficiency and high-speed delivery capability of the Internet, the essential rules of e-Mail etiquette have too frequently been ignored or even more commonly misunderstood or unknown. The purpose of my Triple-“e” strategy is to offer some helpful direction for those who may have overlooked some basic elements of e-Mail and how these elements affect us and those with whom we communicate.
#1) Traditional e-Mail (the type most of us use daily) is not in any way “secure”. When we send an e-mail from our “address” (the sender) to another “address” (the recipient), that e-mail leaves our mailbox and travels through the Internet often jumping from Server to Server before arriving at its final destination (the e-mail server of your recipient). Anywhere along the “road” so to speak, your e-mail can be intercepted, viewed, corrupted, etc. So, unlike a traditional “Fax”, transmission, your e-mail doesn’t go from Point A (you) to Point B (your recipient). This process then results in a number of challenges. First, if you are sending private, personal, or even secret information via e-Mail, you are potentially exposing that information to unknown parties. To avoid this, your e-mail must be sent via an “Encrypted” format so unintended parties are prevented from accessing it. There are many methods and services available to handle encrypted transmissions, but your traditional e-mail service is likely not secure.
#2) Traditional e-Mail was not designed to handle “large attachments”. As a communication medium, e-mail was designed initially as a “text-only” handler. As Internet speeds and devices became faster and more sophisticated, e-Mail was “stretched” to handle document, photo, video, and other digital payloads. Mail Servers that transport this information don’t process these larger payloads efficiently and some recipients on slower connections just can’t receive what you attempt to send them. Limiting attachments to under 2MB in size is wise and using another medium of exchange for larger attachments is recommended. Services like Hightail.com, Cloud storage services that offer the ability to share your info via links like Dropbox, Bitcasa and Cubby do a much better job for storing large file transfers that are communicated first via e-mail to alert the recipient of your download.
#3) After the Security concerns and Attachment considerations, the next category of etiquette is “Who” we send mail to, “How” we address it, and “What” we say in the content. It is so simple to send e-mail today, that many take advantage of the medium to “blast” an entire list of addresses without first obtaining permission to do so from the individuals or companies on the list. In addition, people tend to use the Carbon Copy or “CC” line to include all of the e-mail addresses of their intended without regard to the fact that everyone who receives that e-mail gets a “copy” of all of those e-mail addresses. Many on your list I am certain would not be happy that you “shared” their address with others on your list by using the “CC” line. It is best to use the Blind Carbon Copy “BCC” to handle such a list so that those names are “hidden” from all that receive it.
Remember, common courtesy should always trump your eagerness to get your message out.
Back in December, 2003, Congress passed the “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003″ also known as the “CAN-SPAM ACT of 2003”. The Act created National guidelines for delivering commercial e-mail and for individuals who engaged in marketing via e-mail solicitations. I address more details on this subject in my e-Book entitled “Your Personal Computer Driver’s License”. You’ll find a link to that e-book here: http://www.askavie.com/boutique/other/ .
This is 10th in a series of aSKaVIE articles devoted to your productivity, digital privacy and protection. In future articles, you can look forward to tips and tricks that you can use to make sense out of your digital investments as well as reviews of new and exciting things that will likely provide value to your home and business. I invite you to write me with your questions and feedback. We’ll also be helping and inspiring others by answering your questions and that’s what makes my job so much fun! So stay tuned. Please send your questions to TheRosyReport@askavie.com.
About Avie Uniglicht: For over 30-years, Avie Uniglicht – “Your Tech Concierge™” has provided technology support and solutions to entrepreneurs who don’t have time to worry about the details. Specializing in “White-Glove Remote Room-Service,” Avie’s concept of giving you, his client, virtual “house calls” is cited regularly as invaluable and many of Avie’s clients say they couldn’t live without him on speed dial. Avie graduated Summa Cum Laude from Temple University with a BS in Business Administration. A former auditor for Price Waterhouse and past President of Ace Computer Center Inc., he is also the author of the e-Book, “Your Personal Computer Driver’s License.” Avie’s extensive business background and strong experience in accounting enhances his natural talent for helping his clients see the bigger picture regarding their business. “Your Tech Concierge” helps clients evaluate strategy so that together, they create an action plan with the end in mind. For more information or to “Ask Avie,” please call him at (888)-374-3712, and visit www.askavie.com.