When you communicate through cyberspace - via e-mail or on discussion/chat groups - your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, they could come back to haunt you. And even if you diligently delete any messages you send or receive, elsewhere, computer staff can equally diligently back up the mainframe where your messages are stored! It is wise to assume that everyone in the world will read your words. Though your e-mail may initially be sent to only one person, it is very easy to forward a message to hundreds or thousands of people. It is therefore wise to be cautious!
Do not forward any dumb chain letters to your friends. Understand that most people have seen those a million times and find them very annoying.
Never give out phone numbers or personal information without confirming you are communicating with a reputable party. Never give out personal contact information of others without their specific permission to do so.
Always minimise, compress, or "zip" large files before sending. Many of you do not realise how large graphics or photo files are. They are large enough to fill someone's e-mail box and cause their other mail to bounce. Get in the habit of compressing anything over 100,000 bytes. Do not send large attachments to others because you think that a photo or file is cute, cool, or awesome. Ask permission first.
Don't forward virus warnings! These are nearly always hoaxes, especially if they tell you to forward to everyone you know. Rely only on your virus software provider's website for the real scoop. If you get one of these wacky e-mails from a friend, go to your virus software site and read what they have to say before you unnecessarily alarm people. Unfortunately, with the advancement of technology, it is now possible to get a virus without even opening an e-mail. A recent virus merely required you to click on the e-mail's subject or (for those who use Outlook) have your program set to "preview". HINT: turn previewing off! The need for a 24/7 virus protection software is a must. You will also need to update your virus files regularly so that your computer is protected from the latest releases. Get an active program that is always "ON". This will catch any viruses as they are being downloaded so they can be quarantined and not infect your system. Update your virus patterns daily. New viruses are identified daily! Never click on any attachment or an .exe (example: Happy99.exe or ILOVEYOU) file attached within an e-mail without checking for viruses. Even if the mail appears to come from someone you know very well! They may unknowingly be infected and not aware of the virus on their system that has just been passed on to you.
Greet your correspondent. Always start your e-mail with Hello, Hi, Dear, or whatever works for you. A little chit-chat asking how the other person is, etc. could follow. You may think this to be trivial or a waste of time, but this is how a civilised society communicates. Just blurting out your demands or questions without a greeting is just plain rude!
Always end your e-mails with Thank you, Sincerely, Take it easy, Kind regards - something! When you ask something of someone, have the common courtesy to thank them in advance (TIA) and sign off your e-mail appropriately. If you don't want to type your name every time, then incorporate it into your signature file that is automatically appended to the end of every e-mail.
Never just forward e-mail without a comment as to why you are forwarding it to the recipient. That is rude. If you are e-mailing for support or asking a question, or requesting assistance from someone, it would behove you to say "Thank You". Closing with "appreciate your help" or "thanks in advance" will make the person on the other side respond more quickly. Then, when they do respond and take the time to help you, take a moment and send a reply e-mail thanking them for their assistance. This only takes a minute and will be greatly appreciated! As a general rule of thumb, if someone takes the time to e-mail you, give them the courtesy of a return response. By not doing so you appear to ignore them. How would you feel if e-mail you sent were simply ignored? A short acknowledgement of their e-mail commenting on the issues in it only takes a moment.
Always spell check your e-mail and proofread for errors.
Always edit out unnecessary information from a message you are responding to. Don't just hit the reply button and start typing. Delete unimportant parts of the e-mail you are responding to and reply point by point. At the very least edit out e-mail headers and signature files. Why would you possibly want to have copies of the last 3-4 (or more) e-mails added to the growing list of back and forth? Edit/delete what is not necessary for the conversation to continue.
SPAM (junk e-mail). Never, ever, send anyone an e-mail about anything, (especially your product or service) if the recipient did not specifically e-mail you for that information. Never follow instructions from spammers stating to just hit reply to be removed from further mailings, you have just confirmed you are a LIVE account and your junk mail will increase exponentially as your address is resold over and over again.
Help keep flame wars under control. If you receive a nasty e-mail - don't respond immediately - if at all. Sending e-mail with extremely foul, threatening, or abusive language is crude. This includes obscenities, verbal harassment, threats of slander or comments that would prove offensive based on race, religion, or sexual orientation. Often people are simply trying to get a rise out of you by writing offensive messages. This is called trolling. Trolling is the act of sending or posting messages that are intentionally crafted to enrage or draw someone into flaming. They are obviously unpleasant comments, brutally untruthful statements, or words and phrases that we all know to be those that would instigate a fight if stated in the local pub. The author's mission is to annoy you no matter what your opinion is. If you don't have something nice to say, or at the very least sternly professional just hit delete. Flaming is the act of posting emotionally inflammatory messages, usually due to a lack of restraint or a short temper. Reviewing what you plan to write, particularly when you are agitated or upset is an excellent way to avoid flaming.
Never type in all caps. This is considered yelling or screaming online
Emoticons. Due to the lack of vocal and nonverbal clues in e-mail, we often forget that eye contact, tone of voice and body language, which we take for granted when communicating in person, is not available in the written word. Use emoticons and acronyms when necessary to convey your message. If you are joking, include a smiley face
, if you are sad or upset you can use
Here are some common emoticons (tilt your head towards the left to "read" them!
|:-p||User is sticking their tongue out (at you!)|
|:-)8||User is dressed up|
|:-D||User has a big mouth|
|:-#||User's lips are sealed|
|:-o||User is shocked, surprised|
|:-|||No expression face, "that comment doesn't phase me"|
|:-&||User is tongue-tied|
|:-@||User is screaming|
|:-))||Big Smile or Grin|
|:-c||Bummed out Smiley|
|]:-}>||User is a "little devil"|
||-)||User is asleep (boredom)|
"Cyber Lingo" or Internet abbreviations. The Internet is full of cryptic shorthand that makes a point, without having to spell out every word. The table below shows some common examples. Although these abbreviations are used mainly in chatrooms, you will find them also used in e-mail messages.
|Bbl||be back later|
|Brb||be right back|
|Btdt||been there, done that|
|Btw||by the way|
|Imho||in my humble opinion|
|lol||Laughing out loud (mild amusement at a remark)|
|Rofl||rolling on the floor laughing (strong amusement at a remark)|
|Ttfn||ta ta for now|
|Ttyl||talk to you later|
|Ttys||talk to you soon|