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Out of Our Minds
Sunday, September 25, 2005 10:33 AM
Stop, Don't Push That Button
Kevin Salwen on Technology

What on Earth are folks thinking when they send emails? Clearly not about the recipient.

A new survey by The Creative Group in Menlo Park, Calif., asked ad and marketing people to name the most annoying aspect of communicating with business contacts online. The results were a tie: 29 percent said receiving large unsolicited files was the worst, while another 29 percent chose superfluous 'reply all' messages. Others on the list: overly long messages (16 percent), typos or grammatical errors (13) and having to scroll to find info (6).

I've got to add my personal pet peeve to these: The 'I received this message' requirement that forces me to click yes or no on whether I want to tell someone I got their email before I can even read the message. Ever try to have an email conversation with one of those?

What bugs you?


Whitney - 9/29/2005 10:51:56 AM
E-mails without salutation, or some kind of closing, grate on my nerves. E-mail discussions never get off on the right foot when people neglect certain rules. We don't start phone calls or formal business letters without a greeting, and we don't end by just hanging up or not signing our names...so why aren't the basic rules carried over into e-mail?

By the way, Microsoft Outlook (if that's the e-mail program you use) can be set up to discreetly handle read-receipt requests so that you don't have to keep clicking the Yes | No | Never buttons.

The next stop in this conversation is voice mail! Does anyone listen to voice mails that run 2 minutes or longer? My boss and colleagues routinely leave conversational voice mails that never run less than 4 minutes.
Mailonator - 9/27/2005 3:53:33 AM
[Disclaimer: Mailonator is a commercial product.]
Mailonator is a sender-side email server extension that resolves some of the receiver's issues and therefore enables the sender to better distribute the important messages.
While Mailonator has more features, concerning this subject the most important functionalities are:
1) Mailonator replaces large attachments with Web links; so it does not clog the receiver's inbox.
2) Mailonator removes the need for the return receipt by giving discreet notifications when recipients download an attachment.

The Mailonator team,
Mark Sicignano - 9/26/2005 11:24:17 PM
I saw the subject and I thought it was going to be about the following topic:


A friend of mine sent that to me today. Interesting.

Regardless, it's always a good idea to stop and think before you press the button.
Janet Auty-Carlisle - 9/26/2005 4:47:06 PM
So did you hit yes or no....One would think that a person in pr would know better. On the other hand if you are trying to see how many people actually respond I guess it's one way of finding out. I wonder what jack o lantern jello would smell like? hhhmmm....maybe I'll send you an email about it.
Living la vida fearless,
Kevin - 9/26/2005 3:55:37 PM
An update: In an apparent sign from above that I am not delusional about how much people misuse their demand for a receipt of email, I just received such an email -- one that can't be read unless you click either yes or no to 'do you want to send a receipt?' This one came from a PR person with a release that required my yeah or nay reply: The subject -- I'm not kidding here -- 'Pumpkin Strudel is a Welcome Scent for Autumn.'
Nadia - 9/25/2005 10:22:28 PM
Hello Kevin,

Interesting thought! Maybe future internal communication is going to take a step backwards!

Janet Auty-Carlisle - 9/25/2005 11:40:30 AM
Hey Kevin,
Good thoughts. Can I send you an email to explain a little further ?:)...
Email is the bain of my existence. I am actually going back to a really old fashioned business concept...the telephone, and actually speaking live to a person. Can you imagine? Email is easy to send and in my opinion, a lot like junk mail in my mailbox. I delete most of the ones I get. They only get opened if I know the person sending stuff to me.
It has been my experience that email doesn't work for most marketing materials for my business. Personal touch is better by far and the best way to do that is with a voice at the other end. Hmmm...skype anyone?
Living la vida fearless,


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