To forward? or not to forward?
Make it personal. When forwarding an email to a friend, send the email to only one person at a time -- two should be near the top limit. Include a personal note to let them know why you thought they, specifically, would enjoy this email. And keep your forwarding activity to a minimum. Many of us have a friend who sends way too many impersonal forwards and are pretty close to getting their own rule in the spam filter. At that point, even if that person does send a personal email, it is likely to be discarded along with the other emails they sent because they had a whim. Another reason to include a personal note is so that your friend knows the email doesn’t include a virus. It’s good practice to never follow links forwarded by a friend or open an attachment unless there is a note that was clearly written by your friend.
Also, as a further courtesy, remove all the other forward information from the email. Taking out the mile long list of everyone else who sent or received the email and trimming the thing down to only the joke just might prevent one more case of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Turning a Blind Eye
Well, I am fully aware of the odds that you will hear my plea and probably still mass forward an email from time to time. If that is the case, you must at the very least, do me this favor. Put the email addresses in the Blind Carbon Copy or BCC field. If you don't know where that is in your mail program, take the time to ask someone. The last thing any of us needs is a blanket list of every person you know who has ever had an email address. This can really clutter up an email and could even be a privacy concern.
Just to recap, most of us enjoy getting email, but what we really like is to get personal notes from our thoughtful friends who wanted to share life with us instead of the latest puppy versus cardboard box video just because we happened to be in their address book. Intentional emailing will keep you in good standing and will endear you to your electronically mailable friends.
Notes from The Other Side
I haven't yet discussed the issue of being on the receiving end of all these forwards. If you have a friend or co-worker who is constantly filling your inbox with forwards, you have two courses of action as I see it. You can completely ignore the issue and hope that one day the offender actually sends you something worthwhile, or you can politely address the issue with your friend. I have experience with this. A few years ago I had to call my very best friend on the phone and ask him politely to remove me from his forward list. I made sure he knew I enjoyed getting email from him but requested he try to send me just the things he knows I would enjoy. Not uncharacteristically, he took it really well. We are still friends in spite of having to bring that up, and it provided me with working advice on the situation.
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