Email Netiquette

Netiquette Rules | Rules for Email Prayer Requests | Reasons to get a Mailing List

Let's face it, there's a right way and a wrong way to send email and almost all of us started out doing it the wrong way.

Here's how it happens, you got a funny email or something that really touched your heart.  So, you forwarded it (as is) to everyone in your address book.  Your intentions were good (bring humor, uplift someone, save someone from potential danger).  But your methods were bad. 

How should I have done it? 

  1. Don't send junk!  Ask yourself is this real?  Then check Urban Legends or Truth Or Fiction or some other anti-hoax sites to see if the message you got is real or not.  For some reason (maybe the radiation from the monitors) common sense seems to leave us and we send things to our "friends" that the National Enquirer wouldn't print. 

  2. Don't put addresses in the TO: box.  Use the BCC function (Press F1 from your email program and search for BCC) or get a free mailing list from, or some other company.
    Think about that... Just because I gave you my email address, doesn't give you the right to send it across the planet.  Treat it like a phone number. More info at US-Cert.

  3. If you get an email from someone who broke rule#2, don't send email to people on that list.  Again, think of it like a phone.  I wouldn't just call my brother-in-law's sister and say "Hey, I know we've never met, but I heard this great joke!"

  4. Clean it up.  If you must send something, Take off the >>>>>>  and 2 million email addresses from people who didn't follow rules #2 and 3.  Really, if it's that good, shouldn't you make it easy to read?

  5. Finally, THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ONE: Don't make people hurt your feelings.  Give them the option to stop emails.  Maybe they're getting them already from other people, or maybe they are not as easily amused as you are.  For whatever reason, if you include a line that says "If you don't want to get forwarded stuff from me, please let me know and I'll stop sending it to you - no questions asked and no hard feelings."  Trust me, this will save you from being talked about at family reunions.

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Rules for Internet Prayer Requests

Here are a few tips to keep a well intended prayer request from becoming one of those things circulated around the world for years, long after the prayer is answered (like so many missing children and that missionary with the intestinal virus).

  1. Always include an email address or website address people can use to verify the email is legit, before they forward it.

  2. Include the date of the original prayer request.

  3. And (if possible) add a "don't forward w/o checking with ____ (see point #1) after this date." If you have a date you can possibly see this situation ending by.

  4. Finally, please don't mass email everyone in your address book in the TO: line (Netiquette Rule #2 above). Send it to yourself in the TO: line and use the BCC (blind carbon copy) line for those in your address book. This keeps others who may want their address kept semi-private from having it forwarded across the planet (and yes, picked up by junk mailers) along with your well intended prayer request.

Following these few steps will help cut down on email that comes to your box, and mine, in the future.

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Reasons to get a mailing list: 

If you send funny and spiritual "forwards" or have a large group of people you mail at any one time mail, you could benefit from an automated mailing list. and are places where you can set up a free mailing list (and worth every penny).

A mailing list has some great advantages.

  1. You send one email to one address and the list sends it to those who are on your list. No more forgetting who you sent what to or leaving people out that love to get your stuff.

  2. You can separate your topics. Some people like the funny stuff, some just the spiritual. Just create separate lists!

  3. It doesn't give out my email address to strangers (and vise-versa). This I really like. Ever get one of those emails with a gazillion email address above the actual message and wonder who are these people? It's not so uncommon for that email to end up in the hands of people that sell email addresses. That's one way you end up with junk mail. And if you are like me you're getting a ton of it.

  4. It lets people leave the list without being afraid to hurt your feelings. I'm not trying to be rude here, but the truth is, some people don't want to get everything you send, shouldn't be getting it at work, or for some other reason are afraid to tell you because they don't want to hurt your feelings.

  5. It allows people you don't even know to signup to your list. Which if you are sending out information or see this as a ministry to encourage others, it's a great way for others (even if they don't know you) to start getting your best stuff too.

  6. It's easy.

  7. It's fun.

  8. It makes you look smart (this is my favorite)!

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