If you’re of a certain age, you remember life before the Internet. Before email, people talked on the phone and even wrote letters by hand. Today, if we want to communicate with someone, the first thing we grab is our laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Whether you like it or not, email is still the preferred method of communication for the average person and, with the popularity of electronic mail, it’s important to remind ourselves how to use it properly every now and then.
Here are five tips to follow when it comes to email etiquette and safety:
1. Two Accounts are Better than One
When it comes to email, two accounts are always better than one. Keep your main account and add a second, free account from Gmail or Yahoo. This will allow you to give the people that you know your main address, or addy, and use your second address for auto-fill forms and people that you are unfamiliar with.
Using a second email address will cut down on the amount of spam, and potential viruses, that you receive to your main account.
2. Sending Important Files
Avoid sending important files and documents as an attachment. Instead, utilize a file sharing site that you can grant access to as needed. This will reduce the risk of your important information falling into the wrong hands. If your computer is hacked, you may unwittingly send this information to complete strangers.
By utilizing a file sharing site, no one will have access to your documents unless you grant them permission.
3. Don’t Shout
If you don’t already know it, typing in all caps is considered shouting in the virtual world. If you have the bad habit of typing in all caps, break it. If your eyesight is poor or typing in caps makes it easier for you for another reason, try adjusting the size of your font instead.
While your friends and family may understand your habitual use of the capital letter, strangers may not and could very easily dismiss you as rude when that isn’t your intent.
4. Spamming Can Land You in Hot Water
Do you love to receive cute pictures of puppies or funny jokes from family and friends? Try to remember that no everyone has the same sense of humor that you do. Resist the temptation to forward these entertaining emails to everyone on your contacts list. Doing so is considered spam and, if you are reported to your ISP, can get you into hot water.
5. Type, Read, Edit, Send
It’s not unusual to hear a story of someone sending personal information to an unintended recipient simply because they hit the send button too quickly. To prevent potential embarrassment or to avoid an argument, type your email, read it, edit it and then hit send.
The written word can be a source of contention between people when it isn’t intended to be because we aren’t able to hear voice inflections or see facial expressions. If your email doesn’t sound the way that you intend it to, edit it before you send it.
Even if you know all of these things, it’s always a good idea to be reminded now and again. Email has slowly taken over our daily lives as the preferred method of communication. If you use email, it’s important that you understand how to use it courteously and safely.