Email is the so called killer application of our lifetime. Just as man on the moon and TV dinners, email has a place in history that will never be lost. It allows brief or complex messages. Can build up or tear down characters. It is immediate and most important rarely properly understood.
The first thing that must be said about email is that it is an open communication. Anyone might get to see any message, whether by intent or accident. There now are many cases of an ill concieved email causing severe embarrassment or even the loss of jobs. It is easy to be forged and hard to prove that you were not the sender. Therefore your only defence is to adopt a policy of use that can never be questioned. This might not remove you from the hot seat, but the chance of sitting on hot coals can be reduced significantly.
As with any new technology or process there is a risk that it will be misunderstood or used carelessly, even possibly that someone may intentionally use to mislead. You have the choice to take a little time to understand what you are using and make for less risk for you and less imconvenience or understanding for others.
Obviously there has been volumes written on the subject. I will endeavour to be as brief as possible while attempting to provide sufficient material to empower you to know the subject well enough to be informed.
The first and probably most important consideration is that of security. Email is most commonly transmitted via hundreds of computers in a plain text format. At any point your message can be read by any person with access to any server that has relayed the message. Second the message is stored in plain test format on the senders computer and also on your computer. Treat it like a postcard that anyone can see and read. Email is not and should not be considered to be a secure form of communication.
The next most important consideration is that you should learn what is appropriate usage of email, how to write a properly formed email and how you should always be considerate of your handling of other person’s private information, including their email addresses. You should note that one of the most prevalent missuse of email addresses starts with someones email address being disclosed via carelessly forwarded email messages. You should never include or disclose anyones email address when you send email on.
So far here are some rules that you should always observe. This is by no means a full list and common sense should alert you to other possibilities.
Be courteous in your correspondence.
Use a spell checker.
Always read your message before you send it.
Ask yourself if you would appreciate the message you are about to send.
If you are about to criticize somebody hold off sending for at least 4 hours.
Do not send on someone else email address.
I always make sure to set the lines of my email to around 50 characters. This makes you email easier to read and has more appealing layout.
Use attachments spareingly and then only when absolutely necessary.
Ask your recipient before you send on large attachments.
If you decide something is wort forwarding, clean it up and remove all email addresses.
Never send on any chain mail or any similar items. There should be no exceptions.
Remember if you would not send your message on the back of a postcard, you should not be sending it via email.
By now you may be asking yourself if you even should use email at all? Good you have been listening! There are many reasons you might choose to use email and it can be considerably useful. Just remember if you would not be confortable to speak your message on a new bulletin, you should not be sending it in email.
There are ways that you can use email to send messages or information privately. This takes time, care and consideration but is worth the effort. One such method is to write your message in a Word document and apply a password. Give your recipient htis password via a phone cal or any other secure means and then attach the document to your email. Obviously you would not send the password via email as this would be kind of dumb. If you need to send a file by email, it can be zipped into a file and a password applied.
This page will be a work in progress and may be updated sometime. Check back and watch for more hints.
========================================================Rob Tait has been involved with computers for a long time. The company he worked for was an early adopter of technology and Rob was keen to be involved. Eventually he was assisting the sysops with the day to day hardware maintainence of the mainframe and terminal system. He still recalls the enginering section fighting tooth and nail to get the first real desktop PC’s. The first commonly used PC’s were DEC and later clone XT’s with a whopping 10MHz turbo CPU. It all grew from there with daily ditherings that continued into a private business started in 1995. Its been a wild ride and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Rob now lives in Emu Park, a small seaside townnship not far from Yeppoon and Rockhampton. Located on the Queensland Keppel Bay it is a truly beautiful postcard scenerey place. Kind of like living in paradise all year. Currently Rob nd Pam are attempting to be as green as possible. Solar grid connect and a new diesel powered car are their way to use less fossil fuel. Rob has dabbled with a veggie garden but so far its a pretty hopeless effort. He intends to get ready for another go soon when the cold weather eases off.
Robs hobbies include photography and he has an embarrasingly huge collection of LED torches and lighting. Pam reckons a green energy shop should be next venture.This might happen when Pam packs up her chalk.