Stop using the TO line, dammit!

Showing Mozilla Thunderbird detecting spam mes...

Mozilla Thunderbird detecting spam messages in an inbox.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unnecessary emails. They are such a waste of time! Even if you know that you don’t need to read the email, you’re still wasting time deleting it and wasting even more time reading the subject line to figure out that it doesn’t pertain to you. I wish spammers would self-implode.

It doesn’t happen daily anymore in the business world, but when it does, it really chaffs my hide. What gets me riled up? When someone lists their contact list on the To: or CC: line of their email.

What’s the big deal, you ask?

  1. If you respect your friends and colleagues (or even the strangers on your list), your email address book should remain private. (Sing it, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!)
  2. Someone might accidentally hit Reply All and say something that should have remained private. (ruh roh!)
  3. Someone might accidentally hit Reply All and bother you with an email that does not benefit the recipients in any way. (grrrrrrrrrr!)
  4. Someone might intentionally hit Reply All, thinking we all wanted to know his idea or RSVP response. (Moron!)
  5. It just looks tacky to have a long list of addresses, on top of causing me to have to scroll down before I can even begin reading the body of the email. (Oh no he di’n’t!)
  6. I don’t publicly display my email address on the Internet because that leads to spam. If the email you sent ends up in some archive online, my email address will be captured by spammers. (Thanks a lot, you booger snot!)
  7. If there is a shady character in the recipient line, you run the risk of our email addresses being sold to spammers. S/he will get paid more since they’re verified email addresses, so that’s quite a temptation to avoid if you’re unscrupulous. (Jerk!)
  8. If there is a person on your list who is desperately trying to grow their business, they might harvest the email addresses and add those folks, those strangers – without permission – to their distribution list, thereby annoying a slew of people with unwanted email. (Clod!)
  9. If someone forwards this email, the chances of one of the above happening just increased exponentially.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Using the TO and CC lines often end up creating unnecessary emails. So, how can you avoid this problem? Simple: use the BCC (blind carbon copy) line. It hides all of your recipient addresses so none of the above can happen. Now there may be  some times when you do have to list everyone – like if you serve on a board and you need to vote by email in between meetings, or a few of you working on a project can’t talk via phone but need to share some input with each other, or someone’s shift schedule suddenly changes and you contact three possible replacements to find out who can do what. But if you’re just inviting people somewhere or asking folks to spread the word about an article or a cause, it’s completely unnecessary to list all of those email addresses. In most cases, the BCC line is the way to go. PLEASE!

And puh-lease feel free to share this with your friends who send jokes and commit the same email sin in your personal life. They need this info, too!

About Helene Segura

Helene Segura teaches go-getters how to use their time more efficiently in order to have a more peaceful life. For details about her, be sure to visit

  • Julie Bestry
    Posted at 15:54h, 19 June

    That noise you hear rumbling from Tennessee to Texas? It’s my thundering applause! You’re absolutely right.

    • LivingOrderSA
      Posted at 16:41h, 19 June

      Thanks, Julie! I received a couple of those last week on the same day from business owners and just thought, “You’ve GOTTA be kidding me!”

Post A Comment