Email Dos and Don'ts
DO — select your intended audience carefully. Sending an email to "All UHV" when only one site or one group needs to see the message wastes time and effort by all those that received it unnecessarily. An event in Victoria that is not likely to be attended by those in Cinco Ranch should not be sent to All UHV. If specific individuals at that site need to be invited, target them along with the "All Staff at Victoria" distribution list. Also be careful when using "Reply to All", especially when "All UHV" was used in the original message.
DON'T — send an email with a large attachment to a large group of recipients. Those documents should be put on a web page or a shared network drive and a link to that page sent in the body of the email. That will save all that disk space from being used to store all those copies of the attachment when only one copy is stored on the web or file server. It also helps to keep your email from being incorrectly identified as spam, which can have dire results.
DO — remember to include a subject line on all email you send. Some sites consider emails without subjects as junk mail and don't forward to the recipient. Also, avoid subject lines that are commonly used in spam, such as "IMPORTANT", "Please Read", "OPPORTUNITY", "Come Join the Fun", etc.
DON'T — send too many reminders for events. Three mentions are usually enough: the initial announcement (a week or 2 in advance – longer for more important events); a reminder the day before, and one the day of. More than that is often annoying, especially to those that marked the event on their calendar at the first mention.
DO — (before you hit SEND) check if you've included any intended attachments, chosen the right addresses for your intended audience, and performed a spell check. If accuracy matters, try reading your message out loud to help you catch grammar and other mistakes.
DON'T — include any sensitive or personal data, such as SSN numbers, grades, credit card info, etc., about yourself or others in an email. And don't include anything in an email that you wouldn't want others to see. Our systems are secure, but the Internet isn't.
DO — include basic information, such as date, time, and location, in the body of your email for invitations to events. For those that want to by-pass the artistic work put into an attachment, give them "just the facts" up front.
DON'T — send an email when angry or excited about recent events. Wait until you calm down, then re-evaluate. And check emails for “the tone” that could possibly be misunderstood or taken the wrong way. Remember, some communications are best in person or by phone.
DO — clean up your email boxes at least once a year (preferably once a semester). For ideas and information on how to backup, archive, or copy to a CD/DVD/flash drive, contact Help Desk at extension 399, or 361-570-4399.
DON'T — use the Deleted Items folder as a holding place for emails you intend to review later. Create a "Pending" or "For Review" folder for those emails.
DO — use the Employee Bulletin Board listserv to announce items of interest that are not university sponsored such as fundraisers, items for sale, raffle tickets, garage sales, etc.
DON'T — respond to or get caught up in chain email or other good-intention emails. Even the good Samaritan emails sometimes are false and could make you and the institution look bad. Before forwarding these types of email, check them out at snopes.com to insure their accuracy.
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• Departmental Mailbox Account Application (pdf)
• Email Dos and Don'ts
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