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Email for Idiots

For all you newbie computer users out there and for all you people who have had your computer for years but still don't know anything about it, here is a tutorial for you on basic email. And because you seem to love to forward everything that comes into your mailbox, here is how to avoid making those irritating blunders.

Blunder 1: Forwarding everything on the message that you have received.

Reply: Do you realize that you are sending out private email addresses to everybody you forward this joke to? That is an invasion of privacy. The originator of that joke doesn't want his address spread throughout the world. You have the responsibility to safeguard his email address, not send it out to all those people who harvest email addresses for scams or commercial gain. You should clean up the message before forwarding it. You just hit forward and all those headers go out. Most times, those jokes were forwarded many times before you got them and the email addresses can take up three pages. That is irritating. The recipient shouldn't have to wade through all that stuff. As a result a lot of people just delete forwards.

Corrective action: Don't forward anything. Just highlight the text you want to send and right click Copy. That text is now on your Clipboard and will stay there until you right click Copy again, right click Cut, or shut down your computer. But you DO want to use that joke now, before you forget who sent it to you. You sure don't want to send it back to the person who sent it to you, do you? NO. So, open a new message, and right click Paste into the body of the message. See? You now have a nice clean message/joke to send to all those people who really don't want to read it. Also, they don't want their address showing in the To: line either so use the BCC: line and put all those addresses in there. That means Blind Copy = No ones' address will show on the message. Also, you don't have to put anyones' address on the To: line.

If you absolutely, positively think you HAVE to forward a message, at least clean it up by removing all the headers, cleaning up the title, and making the text readable by removing the tic marks and those large amounts of spaces that make the whole thing difficult to read.

Now, for the hardened dummies reading this, you are now probably thinking, how do I Highlight? Well, you place your cursor (that's the little arrow or icon that you move around the screen, using your mouse) on the first letter that you want to highlight, hold down Left Click and move it over everything you want highlighted. Release the Left Click and then use the Right Click to Copy. When you have that fresh message form, put your curser on the message body and now you can Right Click Paste.

Blunder 2: Forwarding a message or picture as an Attachment.

Reply: DON'T EVER DO THIS. People are leery of attachments and so many of them contain viruses. And if many people have forwarded this message/picture/graphic to you, the person who receives it from you has to scan/open, scan/open, scan/open, scan/open to get to it. It's like one of those little wooden Russian dolls within dolls. A neverending boring task and usually not worth the effort.

Corrective Action: I only open original attachments. If they have been forwarded, I delete it. If you get a picture that you think is darling and want to send it out to your friends, put your cursor on the picture, Right Click on Save Picture As, give it a name and save it to My Documents. Now you have that lovely picture on your hard drive and you can send it out anytime you want as an original attachment.

Blunder 3: Telling recipients of your message what to do with it.

Reply: "Pass this message on to everyone in your address book," or "Send this email to every beautiful woman you know." or some other instruction is not a good idea. Sounds bossy.

Corrective Action: Every email that ends in these instructions should be immediately deleted. These people are trying to bring down the internet by spamming.

Blunder 4: Leaving the Subject of an email blank.

Reply: The subject line is very useful, so use it.

Corrective Action: Any subject that the recipient is not interested in, can be deleted before opening if the subject is revealed. Put a relevant description of your message in the Subject line. Please refrain from using subjects like "This is Funny," or "You've Got to Read This." A relevant subject is appreciated.