Tuesday, May 18, 2010

To many

I thought one of the best things about not being part of an organisation is not having to deal with Lotus Notes on a daily basis. It was as though writing emails was a necessary evil and the most preoccupying thought while writing a mail was who do you mark it to, and in what order. It has always been a tough one for me, so I took the alphabetical way out and pretended it was the norm and nothing untoward happened, so I kept at it.

Sometimes, figuring out who stands where in the order of hierarchy and therefore in your mail is enough to give you ulcers. How do you decide who’s the recipient and who’s the cc when there is a very thin line? Do you have to cc all that cc you? Can anyone butt into a cc chain, even though they haven’t been addressed/spoken to? Does every mail have to be grunted to, even though nothing in it is of any consequence to you? As for the bcc, well, that’s another can of worms. Whoever invented it had a devious little mind and I am sure is having a hearty laugh.

May be all HR departments should conduct an email orientation to new employees explaining the fine nuances of mail protocol, because sooner or later, it will become the bone of contention.

Ironically, I am married into a reply-all family and one of the toughest things about the marriage is keeping people ‘in the loop’. I did it for a while, and even believed in the theory that cyberia is the best thing that happened to the modern family, but after a series of back-patting and wowing at pictures and things, I realised it is not my scene, so I have now left the husband to do the dirty work, which of course he hasn’t done in months.

Having said that, I am still slightly embarrassed about having mailed people to “Become a fan” of this column when a friend set up a Facebook page for me. It seemed vulgar. But as my friends and husband suggested, it’s the age of self promotion, and the whole world is doing it, so what’s wrong with it? I am still ambivalent about it, but the damage is done.

As for forwards, it’s plain lazy. And the closer you are to me, the more I hate a forward from you. That’s about it. There are mails about making the world a better place, but only if you forward it to nine other people, else you will be doomed. Then there are those about life-threatening substances in your blood or deodorant or garbage liners and how, if you don’t do anything about them, you will die in 64 days.

The joke spammers are another lot. I know funny is funny and sharing laughter is such a noble thing and all that. And there are the inspirational messages on how to be happy (while all you are thinking of is how to get rid of this person without hiring a supari killer) and what is life and love and other deep four letter words. But do me a favour. Surprise me. For once.


  1. Hi i am regular reader of urs in cafe and i really like reading your articles.
    And i was reading this article yest. and i was like 'hey that happens with me too' The complicated issues about mail and the n no.of egos u have consider! Its actually a pain!
    Totally agree with u on that.

    Once again love reading ur articles for the fact that its kept very simple.


  2. hmm since your a public figure never say surprise me....people might hack your mail id and mess up...remember surprises aren't always pleasant!!
    Be specific....as to surprise you pleasantly....:)
    no offense...good one though!
    n now if you dont reply after reading this your system will hang in 15 mins.............:)
    good work keep posting.....hav a gr8 time..:)

  3. thanks vidya.. i think observing protocol takes up too much of productive time..

    and sudarshan, if they surprise me unpleasantly, well, there's material for another post.. ha ha

  4. add one extract from me too, lalita - mails which are addressed to a group id, viz., office@abc.com, etc, and to add to that the replies that go to "reply-all"..... well it's good to do a reply-all just incase you are cramped in one unnoticed corner of the company, and want to make a statement......but at the same time, possibly start looking for another job ;-)

    good post lalita..... keep going....