The first thing I don't want to see when I open an email is that I'm one of forty addressees, and all their email addresses are there with mine for everyone to see. I don't usually know the rest of the people, and It's been forwarded several times. By now there are two hundred email addresses at my fingertips. If I were an unscrupulous person, I could probably think of many things to do with this new database of contacts. It also means I need to scroll way down before I get to the actual message.
It only takes a moment or two to copy and paste into a new email to be sent, and your list of addressees can be placed in the BCC box. That means blind carbon copy, which might only make sense to us older folks, but it means that nobody sees who you sent it to (or their addresses) except the sender. It also means the person opening the email gets a nice clean copy.
My second hot button is getting really great stories that aren't true. Hasn't anybody ever heard of snopes.com? Whether it's an inspirational story, a political rumor or a letter supposedly written by a famous person, please check its validity on someplace like Snopes before passing it along to hundreds of your friends. If you send me an unverified story, believe me when I say that I will check it out and do a "reply to all" (since you didn't do a BCC, I can let your entire email list for this mailing know at once) to inform them if it is a fake.
My final and biggest pet peeve, causing more frustration with email than anything else I deal with, is that little sentence near the bottom of so many emails. It cheerfully tells me to forward this email to a certain number of friends within a certain number of minutes. It implies that if I don't, I'm either not a patriot, not a Christian, not interested in supporting our troops or beating breast cancer. Or it will promise me treats, rewards or blessings as soon as I do forward it to so many in a certain amount of time.
If you send me something that says that, it won't ever be forwarded on, no matter how otherwise impressive it might be, unless I can remove that entire statement. And I rarely send anything to more than three people. I don't have "group lists," and if you receive something forwarded from me, you'll no doubt understand that when I read it, it made me think of you—either your sense of humor, your political leanings, or something you as an individual might need to hear.
I treasure the email friends I have, the blogs I read, and the connections we are able to maintain across so many miles. Email and the internet give us so much. I'm just begging for a bit of responsible mailing practices. Now, if you will just forward this to everyone on your contact list within fifteen minutes, next Tuesday you will receive...