"Reply All" & the Five Other Dumbest/Most Annoying Things People Do with E-Mail

Categories: Tech

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Hard to believe, but the very first electronic messages were around 50 years ago. It wasn't the sophisticated, snail mail-replacing juggernaut most of us use every day, but it existed. As it has grown, communication has shifted and things none of us ever dreamed were necessary -- emoticons, for example -- became not only functional but necessary.

Unfortunately, humans fall prey to some dumb practices when it comes to any kind of electronic interaction. Celebrities still take naked photos of themselves with their phones, never dreaming they will be hacked. People look at porn at work and can't imagine being caught. When it comes to people and technology, stupid things just happen sometimes.

With that in mind, I rounded up six dumb and/or annoying things people do with e-mail. See how many you've done!

6. Send unsolicited political/religious/motivational/warning messages.
This usually comes from an older relative and it could be anything from pictures of nature scenes with inspirational sayings etched on them to warnings that Swiffer kills dogs. In some weird twist of consequence, many of those who used to send these as e-mails have now begun posting them on Facebook. We can't escape. My general tendency when getting a stern lecture about Obama being Muslim from an old, conservative uncle or a warning that Coca-Cola is harsher than battery acid from a concerned cousin is to ignore it...or send them a link to Snopes.

5. Use one e-mail for everything.
I'm still surprised when I find out a friend has one e-mail address he literally uses for everything: business, personal, purchases, newsletters. Gmail is completely free and there are other free or cheap e-mail options out there. Mail clients on computers and phones allow users to check multiple addresses simultaneously. By having separate addresses, you avoid getting ridiculous spam sent to a single address, particularly from that place where you bought "herbal supplements" last fall.

4. Add attachments to signatures.
I try everything in my power to convince people not to put attachments like company logos in the signatures of their e-mails, particularly in the signatures that are automatically tagged onto the end of every message sent. Nothing is as annoying as having to read through an e-mail thread that has 20 attached logos in it, plus it wastes my hard-drive space. Nice-looking signatures that simply display logos that are sitting on a Web server are much more appropriate. And while I'm on the topic, please get rid of the animated emoticons and inspirational messages in your signature. This isn't 1998.


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11 comments
FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

I don't experience any of these problems, primarily because most of my folks text me.  Now, "5 annoying text habits" might be a little more relevant to this decade.

Chataupiano
Chataupiano

other people opening their spam mail is somehow annoying to you?

Bill
Bill

#6 = Granny Spam / Gray Spam

PaulP
PaulP

And here I thought I had the only elderly, born-again, so-conservative-he's-to-the-right-of-Genghis-Khan uncle who posts articles "proving" that Obama is a communist muslim intent on destroying the christian faith and free enterprise with secret oval office bill signings. I have this great fear that, in twenty five years or so, I'll become that uncle.

JB
JB

+1 for Add attachments to signatures.

It's particularly annoying when somebody's signature makes every single email from them appear to have an attachment, so when you're looking for a copy of that document they sent that one time you you can't simply sort by or look for the attachment symbol. 

Desjardins
Desjardins

+ 1 for the Reply All

Some companies congratulate every sale with a shout-out to everyone in the department, although just one person made the sale. And then, to be part of the cheer-leading squad, the other reps hit 'Reply All' when sending their congratulatory message.

Even more annoying than hearing the word 'leverage' over and over and over...

Danno
Danno

+1 for the Snopes link. I don't feel like as much of an asshole for doing that now.

Jeff
Jeff

Opening it isn't the problem. Opening it and clicking on the links as well as purchasing things inside it is highly annoying because it tells spammers that what they are doing is working and makes it far more likely they will continue and that crap will end up in my inbox.

BLiger97
BLiger97

 I hate attachments in signatures. Unfortunately, my employer's marketing department felt that we simply had to have a giant company logo in our signature (in addition to our name, our title, our company's name, our office's city/state/country, our direct line, our fax number, our website, and our email address). Plus, all messages have to include the full signature. Even for internal messages. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

Ribalding
Ribalding

 Is there a way to double like this?

Jeff
Jeff

Yes, bingo!!!

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