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A to Z Writing: Blind Copies are Benevolent to Buddies

Banish the bulk! And beware of those dreaded mass emails!

Surely you’ve seen these mindless missives, piling up in your New Mail folder from family members, friends and even professional contacts. How many times have you opened an email, only to find the top three inches of your computer monitor cluttered with dozens of recipient addresses?

Perhaps you have even recognized some of the co-recipient names on emails you’ve received. Or maybe not.

Guess what.

All of those folks now have your email address. How many cute quips, silly stories and heartwarming anecdotes can you expect to receive in the next few days from this miscellaneous roster of readers?

Can you even imagine what will happen if just one of those individuals should happen to click “Reply All,” instead of “Reply”?

All that unnecessary email clutter could be prevented, if the sender simply selected the BCC option when inserting addressees. This is simple to do, but it’s amazing how many emailers don’t notice this option.

Look at your own email program.

Open a new message, and look at the address section. Here's what it looks like on AOL:

CC stands for “carbon copy,” and BCC stands for “blind carbon copy.” These acronyms come from old office memo terminology, referring to secretarial typing of internal business correspondence.

BCC messages may be distributed to multiple recipients without revealing their names or addresses. This option is also handy for behind-the-scenes emailing of messages to others on an FYI (for your information) basis.

Here’s the other side of the story.

How much is your contact list worth to you?

If you send a mass email to your professional network, do you really want to disclose your entire list of recipients? You likely spent time and effort to compile that list. Would you like to give that resource away for free to everyone on the roster?

Certainly, if you belong to a tightly knit group, in which everyone is already well-acquainted, you can go ahead and put all those email addresses in the top line. But in other cases, the polite and savvy strategy is to keep recipients under wraps by using the BCC option.

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2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge logo
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  1. Excellent tip. I always used to just hit reply all because I didn't know any better. Now I do, though! :D

  2. I learned the beauty of the BCC while working at a bank. Everyoje need to become acquainted with it.

  3. One of my biggest pet peeves. Trying to teach family members and old friends this basic piece of internet etiquette has been a lost cause.

    Stopping by from the A-Z Challenge, blogging at Ross County Roundup and Write, Wrong or Indifferent.

  4. I always delete those emails.
    The A to Z hosts sent emails to all participants but I used BCC so no email addresses went to others.

  5. Yeah, I delete those, too.

    I've been getting lots of emails I don't want because somebody included me on a huge list. Not happy about it.

    Happy Monday!

    My A-Z

  6. New follower here. I’m enjoying reading my fellow “A to Z”ers. I look forward to visiting again.


  7. Sometimes it's really helpful to have the whole list if you need to contact one person on it. I wouldn't take a list like that and use it, but for clubs it can be helpful. Thanks for explaining BCC!

    Mary Montague Sikes

  8. I wish more people used BCC more often but have to admit, I've picked up some contacts via CC.

  9. Greetings! So true! It can be helpful occasionally, but more often than not it's annoying! Thanks and good luck this April!

  10. Hi -
    BCC is definitely a great tool - I use it as often as I can.
    Thanks for visiting my site earlier - please feel free to follow!
    I am following you now.

  11. I wish so many people I know would follow your suggestion.


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