Okay boys and girls, listen up: we're going to have a little lesson on The Rules of E-mail. I am appalled at how many people out there are completely oblivious to The Rules. Here they are:
1. Do not forward things that tell people they will be harshly judged by Jesus if they don't forward on an e-mail about him. Frankly, if Jesus is going to damn us all to Hell because we didn't forward an e-mail about him, then there is no hope for any of us.
2. THIS ONE IS REALLY IMPORTANT: Do not forward hoax e-mails. Hoax e-mails are the ones that contain horrifying stories about people hiding in women's cars waiting to kill them after the women are done pumping gas at night, about people getting free stuff for forwarding on Microsoft e-mails, about antiperspirant causing breast cancer, about kids needing money and/or prayers for cancer...the list goes on and on.
It's easy to understand why people forward these mails on. They sound true and even if they don't, we think "But what if it is true? I should forward it on just in case." NO, NO, NO...did I mention NO?!!
Before forwarding on something, check out these websites first:
Break The Chain
Both of these sites take the common urban legends we all hear about and either verify them as true or provide explanation as to why they are false. It's worth it to check out these sites before telling your friends that free samples of perfume in the mail will kill them.
3. BCC: Learn to use it. BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy and I'd venture to say nearly every e-mail program has it. Rather than forwarding something on to people by placing their names in the "To:" spot on the e-mail, use the BCC spot instead. This will cause all e-mail addresses on the mailing to be "hidden" in a sense. In other words, people who receive it will not be able to see everyone else who received it.
4. Piggybacking on #3: When you send forwards, cut out the addresses that are in the body of the e-mail. Nearly every single forward I receive has pages of e-mail addresses above the actual text. I don't care to see tons of e-mail addresses and the comments those people have made about the forward and so on. Do your friends and family a favor and cut those addresses out. It's very simple to do: select them all using your mouse and then press delete to get rid of them.
5. Forwarding for the OCD Group: if you're REALLY nice and/or you suffer from OCD, you will open a Word document, paste the forward into it, then use find and replace to get rid of all the > characters in the e-mails. I do this. Yeah, it takes just a couple of extra minutes, but when I forward something, it's because I really want people to see it and therefore I want to make it easier on them to read the actual content.
6. Personalize it! If all you ever do is send forwards to someone, consider sending a personal e-mail every once in awhile. Several of my friends have talked about how they resent all the forwards they get from people who don't seem to care enough to say "Hey, how are you these days?" Instead, they forward on e-mails about National Friendship Week. Somehow, I think the whole idea of friendship is lost on the person who can't even write a quick personal note.
I should add that I don't mind receiving e-mails about National Friendship Week or something similar if it's from someone like my best friend, Britt because we actually do speak on a regular basis and have a deep friendship. But when people send me this stuff who haven't spoken to me in years and don't even know whether I'm dead or alive...that just seems wrong.
Also, please understand that I am not against forwards. Some of them are worth sending on because they are funny or inspiring or what have you. However, just as you should drink responsibly so too should you forward responsibly. Your friends and family do not want tons of forwards about your religious views, 101 ways to use Spam meat (that one is ironic if you ask me), and so on. Most of us get enough spam and e-mail to wade through every day. Be kind. Don't forward unless it's really worth it.