Number One: The CC option.
At the risk of upsetting many of my friends and acquaintances, I simply have to voice this. Why do so many people find it so difficult to grasp the concept of the BCC option? Most people are fairly competent users of Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, text messaging and other electronic communication methods. Moreover, most of us (I hope!) would have the courtesy of asking your permission, before passing on your telephone number to someone you do not know. And yet, when it comes to e-mailing, any kind of consideration for privacy goes out of the window, and you find yourself receiving a message with a list of several e-mail addresses of total strangers – including your own – liberally displayed. When I rant about this, many people gawp and ask me what the difference is, between CC and BCC. I stare back, in disbelief, that there should be computer users out there who do not know this. As I slow down my speech and start enunciating, I half expect them to interrupt and say they are just teasing me; that they know – but I only find myself having to guide them through the entire process step by step. I do not want to know the names and e-mail addresses of the two dozen other people this e-mail has been sent to, besides me. It does not raise the sender in my estimation to know that he or she has a well-stocked address book. Also, I do not want that two dozen or so total strangers, to have my e-mail address. I resent receiving spam as a direct result of this practice. It really is not difficult. Just type your own address in the TO field, then start populating the BCC box with millions of other recipients to your heart’s content… No one will be any the wiser, and you will acquire an air of mystery…
Number Two: Chain e-mails.
Women appear to be particularly partial to these ones. E-mails with pictures of flowers, rainbows and saucer-eyed puppies. Pedestrian poems about the precious nature of friends, the irreplaceable bond of sisterhood, a kitsch rephrasing of the old carpe diem adage, or the misquoting of words of wisdom from faraway lands. After a slushy, saccharin sweet, nauseatingly patronising expression of the kind of love that feels like as welcome as a lump of stretchy chewing gum on the sole of your shoe, you are instructed to forward this toffee missive to at least seven other victims, twenty-one would be better, one hundred and forty-four – and you are guaranteed unlimited wealth or unlimited happiness within ninety seconds. If any of you computer whizz-kids out there can design a programme which can spot these e-mails before they land in my inbox, and immediately dispatch a raspberry-blowing emoticon straight back to the sender, please let me know. You have got an eager costumer here.
Number Three: Mis-spelling names.
How hard can it be to spell my name correctly, in response to a previous e-mail of mine, which I have already signed with my name? You cannot say you cannot read my illegible scrawl, or that it is an unusual spelling of a common name. It is no more than a copying exercise. And if even that is too challenging, then just highlight the name, copy it, and paste it.