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Email Etiquette

Summary:

Although instant and text/SMS messaging is beginning to supplant email for some groups' primary means of Internet communication, effective and appropriate email etiquette is still important. This resource will help you to become an effective writer and reader/manager of email.

Contributors:Karl Stolley, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2010-04-17 05:41:30

How do I compose an email to someone I don't know?

There are a few important points to remember when composing email, particularly when the email's recipient is a superior and/or someone who does not know you.

What are some guides for continuing email conversations?

Once you have exchanged emails with a person on a given subject, it is probably OK to leave greetings out of your follow-up emails. Here are some other points to consider about continuing conversations over email:

What sorts of information shouldn't be sent via email?

Most people do not realize that email is not as private as it may seem. Without additional setup, email is not encrypted; meaning that your email is "open" and could possibly be read by an unintended person as it is transmitted to your reader. With that in mind, never send the following information over email:

Additionally, avoid sensitive or information that could be potentially damaging to someone's career and/or reputation, including your own. Beyond email's general lack of security and confidentiality, your recipient can always accidentally hit the Forward button, leave her email account open on a computer, or print and forget that she's printed a copy of your email.

What about sending attachments?

The ease of transmitting files to a particular person makes email very attractive. However, there are some guidelines you should follow:

Email Listservs and Discussion Groups

Poor email behavior is always cropping up on email listservs and discussion groups. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Note: this resource was posted during a day-long workshop for Norfolk State University in the development of their OWL. Purdue OWL Webmaster Karl Stolley and the Purdue OWL wish them great success.

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