E-tiquette: 'Delete' these bad habits, please

06/09/2010 01:49 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Yes, I'm an 'old fuddy-duddy'. (Young'uns, look it up.) (In the dictionary.) In my current state of curmudgeonry, I thought I'd call folks out on some annoying e-behaviors.

1. List-serves are a great way to communicate with like-minded people productively. What isn't productive is including the entire list-serve on your private conversation. If I'm not invited for dinner after the seminar, I don't want to know where you'll be eating.

2. Speaking of invitations, there are lots of programs on the web that allow you and your friends and colleagues to schedule a get-together by filling in available times and RSVPing. Group email invites are tolerable only if the host gets the replies. I don't want to read about your 'dental appointment next Thursday at three that should take an hour, but he always runs late.' Please reply only to the person who sent the invitation.

3. Which reminds me: Ask your IT tech or local teenager to delete the "Reply All" button from your email tabs. I don't want to spend time reading your response to a group email query, even if both the question and your answer are profound. (Douglas Adams already said it was 42.) If I'm truly interested in others' perspectives, I'll tell the questioner to send me a digest of the input he or she collects.

4. Be careful about auto-fill-ins in your email addresses. If you have six Jessicas in your address book, make sure you're sending your missive to the right one. I don't need to tell you the consequences of a mistake.

5. You don't have to say 'you're welcome.' Really. You can end email exchanges with the 'thank you' or, if you're really OCD, return a smiley face emoticon. Otherwise, you trigger another three emails. 'Oh, no problem. Have a nice weekend!' 'You, too. All the best,' 'Thanks, we will. See you next week!' Stop!!! Bet you have trouble hanging up the phone, too, eh? Or, like me, you always say goodbye to the ATM.

6. Salutations aren't always needed. Especially if you don't know the gender or title preference of the emailer. If you don't feel ready to dive right into your message, just open with 'Hello,' 'Hi,' or 'Hey, dude'). People are using 'dude' for all genders now.

7. If you're not going to check your email every day --what are you, weird?-- then send a return response advising folks that you're a Luddite and will get to them 'whenever.' (If they catch you with a Smart Phone, though, the jig is up.) (Young'uns, look it up.)

8. On the other hand, unless you're an attorney for the IRS, turn off that 'message read' pop-up that automatically tags onto your emails. How can I pretend to be a Luddite if you know that I've read your message and have chosen not to respond?

9. Finally, and I know this is a lost cause: proper spelling, grammar and capitalization. Should be used. Our skills are less sharp and we use fewer adverbs, but their real good. (sic) (Look it up...)

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