Monday, February 16, 2009

On Mass-Emailing Others About Your Work

I don't mass-email people very often (pretty much hardly at all). So hadn't really looked into blind cc-ing people when I have, mainly because I didn't know how (it is not intuitive as far as my mail server goes) and because I trusted the people on my list which is relatively short and consists of friends and family.

But apparently this is an issue, due to a couple of factors. I hadn't thought about any of my messages potentially being forwarded. I've also since learned that a particular person on my email list is adding my contacts to their listservs without asking. I wouldn't mind so much if this person would send out a teaser email first to see if the recipient wants to be added, but they do not do so.

From a professional standpoint, I recognize that I have been in the wrong for being too trusting and for potentially compromising others' information. I plan to blind cc everything now (having now figured out how to do so), especially anything that goes out to said person or to a large list where the recipients do not all know one another. However, I also find it extremely unprofessional on behalf of the person who is adding people to other email lists without asking. There are a lot of people out there who do so; it isn't good practice and could actually get you and whomever you stole the contact from in trouble.

I really wouldn't recommend piggybacking on others' email contacts if you want to keep those contacts that you already have and to stay in the loop. But if you insist on doing so anyway, you really ought to send out a teaser email first to test the waters and see if the recipients are interested. Many may be and will gladly sign up, and you are less likely to anger those who are not if you just ask first. Above all else, don't just blindly add contacts to lists that do not have unsubscribe features - that will only serve to irritate a lot of people who do not want to receive your emails (including some who signed up themselves and then changed their minds).

Again, this comes back to communication. Remember, you do not personally know these people and their interests. They may not only not want to be added to your list and, in some cases (especially involving anything centered around politics, religion and/or sex), those people may even be offended that they were included because the content goes against their moral/ethical code. So ask permission first.

I guess I just really don't understand this at all because I don't subscribe to the philosophy of "just do it and ask forgiveness later". This can and will get you into trouble. This idealogy bespeaks a lack of professionalism and common courtesy and can alienate and anger more people than the perceived gain is worth - the cost is much higher than you likely realize. It is always best to know what you're dealing with beforehand and to take responsibility for yourself and your actions before you act. Besides, you may be surprised. Often if you're honest and work it out beforehand, you'll find that you are granted a lot more permissions to do things than you thought you'd be. All because you asked, and all while not burning any bridges.

1 comment:

ChaoticBlackSheep said...

I have since come to understand that a lot of people don't intentionally increase their contact list in this manner, but that some email account "feature" is enabled that auto-magically downloads addresses to their own lists.

This is all the more reason to blind cc people on things and to be aware of what you are sending and/or forwarding on.