Etiquette for forwarding emails (funny or not)

I originally posted this on May 20, 2003, so I am not going to post it again.

A friend of mine forwarded this to me the other day. The really funny part is that it was flagged as spam, POPFILE was 99% sure of it. I am not going to correct it either. The email had an attachment, that just had a transcript of who had forwarded the email to who (I know who you are).

Of the classified words recognized by POPFILE, there are an overwhelming number of "red" words compared to "green" words.

Oddly, most forwards do get through my spam filter. If I hadn't looked in my "Deleted Items" folder and noticed that there was a message flagged as spam by someone in my address book, I would have never seen this funny joke.

So here is a piece of advice about sending forwards, some are specific, some is general.

1. Put all the email addresses in the BCC field. Put your email address in the TO field. Send.

2. Delete the attachment that is the history transcript. Do not send attachments. Images are generally acceptable as attachments, as they sometimes help the funny.

3. Take the time to delete all the forwarding >>> arrow marks. Also take out all the extra space above or below the message. No one likes to scroll for miles, and then have to read the message with a bunch of >>> marks everywhere.

4. Send as plain text. Not all email clients can handle HTML email. Not all people like HTML email. Not all webmail clients like HTML email (ironic, I know).

5. You may want to include some text, a paragraph or so, written by you. This would offset the spam likelihood regardless of the message content (say your funny joke was about a virus, or maybe you are sending a joke about Viagra)

If you think I am sounding like the "email police," maybe you should read for some etiquette tips. You are judged by the emails you send and reply to. I have always believed that.

Another thing to consider: you might not go through a ton of email everyday, but the person you are sending the joke to may very well sift through hundreds of emails (after spam filtering) and depending on their frame of mind when they get to your forwarded email, might just pitch it.

Now I like the forwarded joke just as much as the next guy. Don't get me wrong. I need a joke here and there when I am attending to my email! It just helps when there is a method to your madness.

Further Reading:
E-Mail Etiquette
Letitia Baldrige's New Manners for New Times
Writing Effective Letters, Memos, and E-mail
E Writing: 21st Century Tools for Effective Communication
Writing Effective E-Mail
Office Emails that Really Click
E-Mail Essentials
Elements of E-Mail Style

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