Handy hints

Topic for this afternoon on Metahills has been “ways to improve your emails”. I’ve collected some of the more useful suggestions into a handy list for you. I hope it’s useful to you all: remember, on the internet, politeness is everything!

  • Remember, there’s no fundamental difference between capital and lowercase
  • Commas, may be used, liberally throughout a, sentence.
  • When revealing an exciting piece of information, make sure to use
    appropriate punctuation!!!!!!!???!!!?!!!?!!!!!!1111one
  • On a similar note: How do you punctuate questions again??!!?!??!!!!!!!!
  • An ellipsis should consist of two, four or more dots, and never three.
  • Apostrophes mean “Look out! There’s an s coming!”
  • There/Their/They’re may be used interchangeably. As can Your/You’re.
  • Poof reding is for oter peoplw
  • A simple rule: The more people you send it to, the larger the message
    needs to be.
  • Never say in the body of an email what you can say in a proprietary format
    document sent as an attachment.
  • When sending out emails to more than one recipient, remember to include
    all the recipients in the To: field. Nobody knows what Cc: means, anyway.
  • And remember – always reply to all, too!
  • Always use a generic or irrelevant subject line. Preferably entirely in
    capital letters.
  • Emails go faster if you mark them as urgent.
  • Remember, if you don’t get a reply to your first email, it probably didn’t
    get through. Send it repeatedly until you get a reply, every 10 minutes if
  • It can help to send a faxed copy, too.
  • And post it, just to make sure.
  • Don’t forget to phone to recipient, just to make sure they got it.
  • Everybody likes signatures that are longer than the text of the email.
  • If you think you haven’t written enough, increase the HTML font size
  • Ascii art is a great idea
  • Before, of course. >Should I reply before or after any quoted text?
  • Never crop quoted text – it’s important for context, especially if you’re
    simply agreeing with the original email.
  • If you want to talk about Euros in an e-mail, don’t just say “EUR”. Use a
    Euro symbol. When the mail system asks you how you want to get it to the
    recipient, choose any option you like – they won’t mind downloading the Early
    Egyptian Coptic font package to read your e-mail.
  • When you have an error message on your screen, don’t type the error into an
    email. Instead, take a screenshot, and paste that image into a word document
    for your IT support people
  • The From: field never lies.
  • Sometimes, you might be lucky enough to get a traced email sent by Microsoft – if you forward it to 20 of your friends, they will send you $20!
  • When starting a new message about something completely new, be sure to
    find an old email from the person you’re sending the message to, and make
    sure your new email has the old subject, and preferably some of the old
    content, too.
  • Don’t bother to set your real name in your email program. It’s obvious to
    everyone who ultrask8kid19478@hotmail.com is.
  • If you don’t know how to set your real name, see if any of your friends
    do. If they do, borrow their computer to send your message.
  • Everyone loves to receive an eCard, especially if they’ve got music and
    an animation!
  • Protect your privacy! If you give postal address or telephone number in an
    e-mail, make sure you send from country-neutral address and omit the nation
    name and dialcodes.
  • Why not join Plaxo?
  • Mass mailing everyone on the internet is not antisocial
  • Remember: The police always issue safety warnings be email, and never use
    the national or local media for such things, so be sure to forward on any of
    these warnings to everyone in your address book.
  • Never say in black and white what you can say in puce-on-orange italics.
  • Life is too short for english… use txt spk
  • If you want to point someone at a website, either e-mail them with a .url
    attachment, or embed the page in the body of your HTML e-mail. It is
    just about acceptable to attach the page as a .htm to your message. Never
    embed an anchor in your HTML e-mail or, worse, just state the URL in your
    flat-ASCII message body.
  • *Always* point people at a web page with the simple message “This is really
    cool!”. Elaborating, disambiguating, clarifying or contextualising will only
    serve to confuse the recipient.

(with thanks to Clive, dkscully, xhosa, echo, Ryan, Topper, and huggie)

One Response to “Handy hints”

  1. Lori says:

    I think I’ve lost count of the number of times at work people have phoned me to say they’d replied to my email. And this week someone forwarded one of those ‘Microsoft will pay you for forwarding this’ scam messages to all staff! Got a right earful from IT services, I expect.