People Suck At Email

People Suck At Email V, Subject Lines

Subject lines are hard. Your subject line can fail if it is:

  1. Not descriptive enough. Tell me what the email is about, I need to know whether to read it, file it or delete it without reading the body.
  2. Too long. I need to be able to read the subject on my mobile device and gmail cuts subjects after about 12 words. Gmail is just being generous though, 12 words is far too long. I’d suggest less than 6.
  3. Too short. One word is not (usually) going to be descriptive enough.
  4. Full of “Re:” and/or “Fwd:” more than one of either is too much, they waste valuable character real estate.

As a rule of thumb, try to use 3 – 6 descriptive words. An extra word or two –  surrounded by separator like a pair of braces – for a tag is also acceptable if you need that for your GTD filters.

People Suck At Email Tips & How To's

People Suck At Email, Part IV: Threads

If the email thread is already 29 messages long, do not reply-all with “Thanks.”

People Suck At Email Tips & How To's

People Suck At Email, Part III: CC vs BCC

It’s 2009, I can’t believe I just had to send this email.

When you add recipients to the “CC” list you expose all recipients email addresses to everyone else on the list. By doing this you have inadvertently sent your entire client list to all of your clients.

In the future please use BCC.
For more information, see wikipedia:

People Suck At Email

People Suck At Email, Part II

When I send you an email in which I discuss a 3rd party (let’s call him Bob).
And, if I’ve also cc’d this email to a seperate 3rd party (Jim and Francis).
Do not forward the email to Bob. I have probably not included him for a specific reason. I’ve either discussed the subject of the email with him, or I feel that the email portrays him in a negative light, or something else.

Please assume that I construct every email with care.
That’s all.

My I direct your attention to Part I: Yes I Got Your Email!

People Suck At Email

Yes I Got Your Email!

Don’t ask me if I received your email, of course I did! Email is very reliable these days, if you’re emailed me before you’re not going to show up in my spam folder.

Of course I got your email!
Whether I’ve read it is another question.