Sunday, 20 May 2012

Email Etiquette: BCC

So, you need to send an email out to multiple recipients for your blog event? You just paste all the email addresses in the TO or CC fields right? WRONG! Unless you have explicit permission to share someone's email address, you should not be sending it out to others, which is what both of those options do. Instead you should use BCC (or blind carbon copy).

Why bother? Well there's the Data Protection Act for starters. You may think it doesn't apply to you, but if you're collecting personal data you really need to look after it. You know those little tick boxes that ask if you're happy for your details to be passed on or for you to receive further communications? They're all about DPA and your right not to receive a whole lot of email you don't want.

I bet you'd be annoyed if you contacted a company and they passed on your email address to all their partner companies and signed you up to a bunch of newsletters. Fellow bloggers may think they are sending you something of interest, but if you haven't given permission, they shouldn't be doing it. I don't have an email address on my blog for this very reason. I have a blog email account that I try and keep clutter free and another one for everything else. Of course I sign up for events with the blog one, so it's extra annoying when it results in a lot of unnecessary email activity.

A lot of people are tempted to reply to all on these emails too. There have been too many times when I've been copied in on a volley of pointless replies. If you have something to say that you think everyone needs to know, email the event organiser and they can send out one email which consolidates all the information. If you're having a conversation with another recipient about how much fun you had last night, for god's sake, delete out the rest of us!

Anything put in the BCC field stays secret. It's not some underhand spying technique, it's just being polite. If your email client doesn't allow you to send an email without putting an address in the TO field, then use your own. The BCC isn't always visible when you go to compose but it's usually easy to find. On Gmail there is an "Add BCC" link underneath the TO field and on Hotmail there is a Show CC & BCC link on the top right. If you use Outlook or a similar program, you can change your options to show it all the time or you can just click the TO button and add to the BCC field in the pop-up.

You might like to think of all of us in the book blogging community as friends but in reality we're not. Using email in a professional manner is common courtesy for any organisation. If you're only emailing your actual friends, you don't need to worry but otherwise, do consider your actions before you click that send button.

7 comments:

  1. Great post! I can't tell you how often I received e-mails that had all the recipients in the CC ... and I'm not talking about two or three people who know each other, but more like hundreds of folks who've been strangers up until the moment they learned each others e-mail addys *sigh*. One should think that word has got around of what BCC is for! Well, apparently not.

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  2. I did chuckle at start of the last paragraph. I'm sure you didn't mean to imply that everyone in the book blogging community is mortal enemies with each other, but that's how I read it!

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    1. Hrm there are billions of people in this world that are neither my friends or enemies. I don't have time for more than one nemesis you know :p

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  3. Thanks for this. It's a good reminder for me, and just plain good advice.

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  4. Great post mrs and certainly something to think about

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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  5. Great post! I hope people read this and keep it in mind.

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  6. Thank you thank you THANK YOU!
    This is such a great post... and it seems so basic, but some people just don't know. And how would they unless they're told? I've had businesses actually send me a mail with a dozen other bloggers CC'd. I mean, I happen to know all the other bloggers in question, and I'm SURE it was just a mistake (in one case, I knew it was), but yeah. Always bares repeating :)

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