I have a pet peeve and it's been tripped up again. Given that I have lost friends over this particular pet peeve in the past, I thought I would put this out to my blog readers and see what you all think. I'm open to the fact that I'm simply overreacting to this and have been wrong all these years.
My pet peeve is when people send out emails to a huge list of recipients who are not all known to each other and put everyone in the TO or CC field rather than the BCC field.
The TO and CC fields allow all the recipients to see one another's email addresses. In some instances, this is fine and necessary. Those instances usually include times when some sort of conversation is taking place via email and the recipients need to be able to respond to everyone.
It is my belief, however, that if an email is strictly informational (e.g., marketing emails, jokes, political, religious, newsletters, etc.) then BCC should be used.
I run my own business and work hard to respect the privacy of my clients. I never send out emails to my entire client using the TO or CC fields. I believe it's just rude. I don't know what my clients are doing with the emails (hopefully, forwarding them to their family and friends - that's how referrals are built!) and I don't want my email address book to end up in the wrong hands.
Previously, a good friend of mine (now a former friend) would send out all those unsupported urban legends to huge lists of people using TO or CC. None of them were ever true as they were easily disproved using snopes.com. I politely repeatedly asked this friend to check out snopes.com before forwarding these outrageous emails , use BCC, or take me off the list. Multiple emails later, that all used TO or CC, I hit "Reply All" (on purpose) and politely told everyone that whatever the newest urban legend was, wasn't true and included the supporting documentation. My friend blew up at me and we haven't spoken since. I know that hitting "Reply All" was rude and probably embarrassed her. But I truly did not know what else to do.
A couple of years later, I had a distant family member on the other side of the country do the same thing but with religious emails. And his friends, none of whom I knew, would repeatedly hit "Reply All" to discuss their church activities. Personally, the religious emails offended me on many levels, but I felt like I was in a Catch-22. I enjoyed the ability to keep in touch with my relatives, but did not share their fundamentalist religious beliefs. Again, I replied to my relative (not everyone) and shared with him my request to use BCC or to not send me the religious emails, but he didn't. These emails continued for weeks until I finally wrote and sternly requested, in an email only to my family member, that I be removed from the list and only contacted for family-related business. My family member hasn't spoken to me since.
This has started to happen again with someone I knew peripherally from college marketing his new business. I have written this person (not the entire group) and politely asked him to please use BCC and related how much my clients appreciate when I respect their privacy and I know his will too. But now I'm questioning myself. UPDATE: The person wrote me back, thanked me for bringing this to his attention and said he would use BCC from now on.
Do you run into this To vs. CC vs. BCC problem? How do you handle it?
I am open to the possibility that I am overreacting and that the rest of the world does not find this problematic.