Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tech Tip: E-Mail Safety and Etiquette

E-mail Etiquette
E-mail has become the dominant form of communication for most people, especially in business settings. That is why it is important to be polite and aware of the types of e-mails you send. E-mails are digital and, like all digital files, you never know where they might end up one day. courts can even use e-mails as evidence, but let's take a step back.

As with all forms of communication, there are some unspoken rules of etiquette. Here are some you may or may not be aware of.

1. ALL CAPS MEANS YOU ARE YELLING! People don't like to be yelled at, even in cyberspace.
2. Sarcasm is great, not! Remember that e-mail is simply written language. Your written voice has no inflection. Thus, sarcasm can be hard to pick up. Think about how statements such as “I’m so angry I could hurt them” could be taken out of context. E-mails are digital and can be saved for an almost infinite amount of time, which means you never know when something you wrote might show up again.
3. Read your e-mails before you send them. This might seem obvious, but in our fast moving digital lives it can be very easy to skip this step. You may end up sending an e-mail that makes no sense or sending an e-mail to the wrong person. Spell check doesn't catch everything. Sometimes reading an e-mail outloud to yourself can help you catch inappropriate words or phrases you might have otherwise missed.
4. :-) ;-) LOL ROFL. Abbreviations and face symbols can be fun, but they can also be confusing to people who are not familiar with them. In some cases this may be misinterpreted. for instance, AIM for some people means Accessible Instructional Materials, bu to others it means AOL Instant Messenger. Just as using jargon can be rude in some cases, so can using abbreviations and symbols.

E-mail Safety
E-mail is the number one place to find virus and ”phishing“ scams. Viruses can come in e-mails as attachments. Never open an attachment that you are not 100% sure came from a safe place. If a friend sends you a strangely worded e-jail with an attachment, you might want to check with them first to make sure they really sent it, and that it is not a virus that infected your computer and is trying to spread itself.

Also be on the lookout for “phishing” scams. Phising is when a person tries to get you to send them sensitive information by pretending to be someone else. Your bank or financial Website will never ask you to send them account information, passwords or your social security numbers through e-mail. That is a red flag. If you get an alarming email from your bank, don't click on any links in the email; simply call the bank or visit their Website yourself to verify that the information is correct. Lastly don't click on links in e-mails sent to you by strangers; you can't be sure where any link will take you.

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