The Five Commandments of E-Mail

A Divine Revelation. I am obligated to communicate a divine revelation I received from God Himself while in a deep trance and dreaming I was on Mount Sinai. Actually, this revelation was given in response to my confession of sin. I was pouring out my heart in anger and frustration because of the continued violation of my e-mail in-box, when the Lord heard my cry and gave me these Five Commandments of E-Mail Etiquette.

I am not even half the man Moses was, so I only got five commandments and a single tablet of stone. This probably will not do much to save the planet, but the world hasn’t followed through very well in obeying the ten commandments given to Moses either. Whatever the case, my mission is simply to pass this information along. You have the responsibility to do with it as you choose. Just remember that in the day of judgment you will be held accountable.

Think It Out. Before you hit that Send button, stop and think! Did you hit Reply to All when you should have only hit Send? Think. The person you met at that conference last year and gave your business card has just sent out a prayer request to every person in his or her address book. Compassionate soul that you are, you wanted to say, “God bless you! I’m praying.” and you hit Reply to all. Now, thousands of people from Labrador to Easter Island are wondering who the heck you are.

And, the absolute only time you should do a mass e-mailing to everyone in your address book is in the case of announcing that you died last week, not to ask for prayer for the bad cold you caught or to forward a message someone forwarded to you.

Check It Out. One word: Snopes. Before you forward that e-mail that asks you sign some petition to keep Christianity from being outlawed by an act of Congress or some such thing, go to the Snopes.com site and check it out. Never in human history has there been such an effective and massive communication vehicle as gullible evangelical Christians armed with half-truths, rumors, outright lies and a computer connected to the Internet. I hear it all every week : A new film is going to portray Jesus as a homosexual, Microsoft is going to give you a dollar for every person to whom you forward this e-mail so you can test their systems, or John Wayne accepted Christ as his Savior right before he died because of a letter he received from a child.

Come on! You have heard stuff like this, too. Do not forward it to everyone you know just because you really want to believe it. Check it out. Most of it is simply not true and most of the rest is a grain of truth hopelessly distorted.

Spell It Out. Write in plain English or whatever language in which you are communicating. when u get 2 cute i hv a hrd time with u. Maybe if you are text messaging and you are under fifteen years of age, that might be appropriate. and i think i will scream if i see another e-mail from someone who has no capital letters. OR SOMEONE WHO HAS CAP LOCKS ON AND MAY NOT HAVE NOTICED!

Cut It Out. Do not get cute with backgrounds, stationary and those little Precious Moments animated angels that spin around on the top of your e-mail messages. It is true that you can put together some very impressive graphics on your new computer. You can have turquoise background with paisley borders and cool silver-tone gothic fonts. Or, that really neat picture of the face of Jesus reflected in a dew drop on a red rose. What you may not realize is that not everyone’s e-mail program is configured like yours and cannot appreciate your work of art. Have you ever tried to open an e-mail like that on a cell phone or PDA? If you have close friends who have told you they enjoy that type of material and you send only to them, that is another story. But do not use it for your regular correspondence, please.

Keep it simple: Black letters on white background in a font that you can read without having to have a chiropractic adjustment afterwards from twisting your head.

Throw It Out. If I get an e-mail with an attachment from someone I do not recognize, I throw it out. I hit delete. Or, if I get an e-mail from someone I do know that always sends some lame, meaningless attachment, I throw it out. Sometimes, I get those PowerPoint attachments that take up more space than on the entire hard drive of my first computer.

And, you know those forwarded messages that have an attachment that you open only to find another attachment to be opened, then another and another? You click down through several layers of forwards to get to a message or attachment whose format by this time is so corrupted that there are fifty blank spaces between every line. After the first click, I throw them out. Do it to me twice and I throw it out before the first click.

I Am Saying This With Love! I am not raging or angry. I only want to remind you that just because your pastor, church friends, relatives or acquaintances don’t say anything to you about your emails, doesn’t mean they like getting the ones that violate these etiquette tips. Instead, send simple, heart-felt and personal short notes. Those are always appreciated.