With the launch of the World Wide Web came the eventual wane of traditional etiquette. No longer are these the days of receiving hand posted notes and communications, neatly written and so properly addressed. No more sweating over the typewriter or word processer to get that report completed. Those days of venturing to the mail box at the end of our driveway or walking down the hall to our co-workers cubicle are so clearly over. Instead we have the internet. And of course, e-mail - the ubiquitous and proliferate form of communication so preferred by the masses over. Unlike future generations to come, we were never raised with internet guidelines and manners; we’re still teaching our own parents how to send e-mails and surf the web. What we need is a lesson we should have received during our early days of computer connectivity. What we need is net-iquette.

Forward with caution.
Refrain from continuously forwarding jokes, chain letters and all forms of idle absurdity. This is one of the biggest inbox offenders. Yes, you know who you are. Receivers do not always appreciate the deluge of these incoming e-mail messages and they are often sent straight to the trash can. Consider whether this e-mail personally pertains to anything you and the recipient are mutually interested. Just go lightly on the forward button.

Never hit “Reply to All” when responding to an e-mail.
That is unless, of course, you want everyone to read your reply. It is generally considered bad manners to start a reply thread with everyone included in the inane details of your communications. This is especially important to remember when replying to an e-mail with a sensitive nature, such as work correspondence.

Don’t be quick on the reply trigger.
Read your e-mails carefully. Print them out if necessary to go over the content of the correspondence. Do not respond to the e-mail with separate replies seeking details that may already be addressed in the body of the original e-mail. When replying, be complete with your response. The less e-mails going back and forth, the less confusion.

When sending mass e-mails, do not use “CC:” but use “BCC:”
You want to let everyone know you are moving or you are the proud owner of a new black lab puppy, but not all need to see who is receiving this e-mail. It’s simply more efficient, professional and tidier to enclose all your contacts in the “BCC:” area of your outgoing correspondence. Better yet, consider sending a proper printed and stamped announcement or invitation.

When sending attachments, use the most efficient format possible.
For documents requiring no editing, consider converting them to a .pdf file. This will allow the recipient to view the document exactly as you formatted it on your own computer. When sending photos compress the images for optimal attachment size. There is nothing worse than opening up an e-mail only to see the flaring nostril of your best friend’s husband because the photo has been sent at a size 1000x larger than normal.

Spell check. Do not use cute icons. Do not use non-standard abbreviations.
There is nothing worse than receiving an illiterate e-mail from someone you know is otherwise intelligent. They simpley r tooo bizy 2 give u the propr decen c & tyme 2 show u email respect :( They may think they are cute, clever or quick, but the message that comes across is anything but.

Do not sign others up for special offers or more with their e-mail address.
They will most definitely not appreciate the inundation of junk e-mail to follow and it may take them weeks (or longer) to remove their name from whatever subscriptions and lists you have put them on. Don’t be tempted to sign yourself up either – your inbox will be buried in offers for anything and everything before you know it.

Delete your history and associated cookies.
When using a work computer, or a friend’s, it is best to delete your browser history. This cleans up the memory and removes cookies. At work, it can cover you if you have been spending a little too much time shopping online or looking at the latest online gossip rag.

Log out of shared computers.
For your own safety and to reduce any family stress over accidentally reading one another’s web-based e-mails, remember to log out of the websites you visit. Additionally, remember to shut down any instant messenger or chat windows you have up and running.

Don’t get caught googling your blind date. Do google yourself.
Googling others before meeting them for the first time is just too weird. You’ll end up looking like a stalker if you recite your date’s year of graduation, family genealogy and corporate bio. Do make sure that there is nothing online that is harmful or damaging to you, your reputation or your career. You can hire a service to help clear up negative postings; however, they don’t work hard at removing that sad run time from your 5K.

Be careful what you write online.
This goes for blogs, community websites and even e-mail. Electronic media is a powerful and potent tool. Whatever you write, whether it be posted online or e-mailed to your cubicle mate, has the potential to be forwarded to and viewed by unlimited numbers.

When in doubt, don’t post it or send it out!

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