Curmudgeon Alert — Time to whine about emails again


Curmudgeon Alert — Time to whine about emails again

My quarterly screed about emails is upon you.  I invite your comments.

1. Forwarded emails. OK — I really don’t despise forwarded emails. Cute kittens and beautiful BBC scenes of mother earth make a welcome break from the political diatribes we are getting now. However for goodness sakes take a moment to clean them up.

I received a forwarded missive this morning and I had to scroll through two pages of someone elses email addresses and headings before I got to the meat of the article. I have had personal problems with addresses attached to such emails suddenly becoming public knowledge and the embarrassment it can cause.  Just a few seconds and you can remove all that clutter. PLUS be sure to use the ‘bcc’ address line — that way each recipient will see only their own email address, and no one elses.

One more thing — for some reason I take offense at the line at the bottom of many such emails that instruct you to forward this to 20 of your dearest friends of your taxes will be audited or whatever. I will decide whether or not the content is worthy of forwarding and find such instructions impertinent. So there.  I remove those requests whenever I forward email.

A lot of embarrassment can be avoided if you run the email content (Abraham Lincoln believed in vampires, for instance) through It is sometimes a bit dodgy, but on balance they debunk most internet legends and let you know whether or not the information you are forwarding is at least a tad valid.

2. Email signatures – Computers have enabled us to put automatic signatures at the bottom of emails. They are like letterheads with title, contact information and links to web sites and the such. And they serve a great purpose. However, you can also add the “sincerely” or “best wishes” or “all the best” line automatically. I think that, too, is impertinent. Particularly when you are sending emails within a company.

If I put ‘all the best’ at the end of an email and send 30 to the same person each day, do you really think that they think I mean ‘all the best’ to them. They know I say ‘all the best” to everyone, so it has no meaning. I have a correspondent that signs her emails with “warmly.”  I felt really great about it until I found she signs all her emails ‘warmly.” Now I almost resent it. Then there’s “thanx and have a nice day.”  Its cutesy and comes close to “how are you”  — one of  those greetings that we all say that have no meaning and everyone knows we really don’t want to know ‘how you are.”

Wouldn’t it be better if people had their contact information put at the end of each email and then personalized the ‘closing’ to each one they send. If they are forwarding an office memo maybe there is no need for a closing at all. But if they are sending an message to a business acquaintance maybe something more personal like “say ‘hi’ to Martha” or “Keep cool” to that person in Tucson or “Happy New Year” to a Jew this time of year might just take some if the built in impersonality of the internet.

Just sayin

All the best and send this to 20 of your dearest friends of else!!!


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Many people that use an automated signature block are required to by corporate policy. Of course, that would be if they’re sending an email from their corporate email address. However, quippy sayings before the sig. block are ridiculous – “Make it a Great Day!” Are you kidding me?

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