Sunday, May 24, 2009

And we wonder why we receive so much SPAM and Junk mail - Blind carbon copy for christ's sakes!

As many of my regular readers know, I often share jokes, interesting pictures and other curious or weird fun stuff that I receive... and publish them under my A Gibo's Tale: In my Inbox today... blog tab.

The source for these is, as the tab title implies, the many emails I receive, forwarded to me by my contacts, friends and family, that arrive in my email inbox on a daily basis.

I also have a 'Family and Friends' contact list in my email manager, that I use when I want to pass these fun and/or interesting emails onto them... mostly a discriminating selection of my idea of good stuff, sometimes it's not a joke, but it could just be a particularly insightful opinion piece, some important bit of security information or... whatever stuff I think may inform and amuse.

I think most of us do the same or similar. It's fun and it's a great way to just keep in touch with family and friends... without having to write lengthy emails. It tells them they're in our thoughts... so all very positive and fair enough.

But... the all important thing to bear in mind... when forwarding or sending an email to multiple recipients is this... that you are about to use the great medium that email is to mass distribute something quickly and easily... often to a group of people, who may be friends to YOU but who are often strangers to each other... and THEY may also forward the email onto another group, possibly of friends... but more probably strangers too!!

Would you give a stranger your Mother's or brother's private telephone number?

The answer is surely not... right? You wouldn't walk round the streets dealing out your friends or loved ones' private phone numbers to anyone you happened to meet in the streets right?

So how come... so many people... do exactly that, with our private email addesses??

Please... Please... Please... when forwarding an email... there's just one simple rule: Do not forward my email address! That applies to the email address of all your friends and loved ones... just delete them... then forward the email!!

Forwarding Emails

Before you hit that send button, there's something you should know, if you don't know it by now... or still don't get it.

Please don't put all of the email addresses of your family and friends in the "To" or "Cc" fields of your email. Instead, put them in the 'Bcc (Blind carbon copy)' field!

By putting the addresses in the 'Bcc' field (as very well explained and illustrated here), their email addresses will not show up at the top of the emails that each of your contacts will receive.

As I've already explained, we've all received those kinds of emails... you know, where you have to page through reams and reams of email addresses before you actually get to the message that the person wants you to read? Yes, those ones. It's just NOT a good idea... for the reasons explained here.

Sending an e-mail to multiple recipients

When sending an e-mail to multiple recipients, you can hide their email addresses from each other. Why? Because this is a sensible anti-spam precaution... because it avoids making a long list of email addresses available to all the recipients (which is what happens if you put everyone's address in the To: or Cc: fields).

For this reason, it makes sense to use the Bcc: field for mailing or contact lists. Some viruses also harvest e-mail addresses from users' cache folder or addressbook, and large CC lists may further the propagation of unwanted viruses, giving another reason to use Bcc:.

So why Bcc?

Basically... as I said earlier... because you don't want to be giving your mother's email address to everyone and their dog... in the same way as you would NOT broadcast her phone number and street address to the world without a second thought!!

Here's a great article by Craig Hartnett @ www.iamcraig > How and Why to Blind Copy Multiple-Recipient Emails that goes into the whole issue at length... and highlights the crassness of NOT using Bcc in multiple recipient emails

So... to Conclude...

It's not that complicated or that much of a big a deal to send multiple-recipient emails to your family, friends and co-workers while respecting their privacy and email addresses... once you know why and how to do it. So please, if you are still unsure, take a second to read Craig Hartnett's article @ www.iamcraig > How and Why to Blind Copy Multiple-Recipient Emails

Please... it's the right thing to do and not at all as trivial or anal as it seems.

Thanks! mrgreen

Email Hoaxes and Internet Scams

To conserve this post specifically to the topic, I didn't want to go into the related topic of chain letters and the various hoax emails and scams that also abound on the net.... which also concern me greatly. For that, you can look up the Latest Email Hoaxes - Current Internet Scams @ Hoax-Slayer.

More information on Blind carbon copy (Bcc) @ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia