Determining Email Recipients and Subject Lines
Your company or firm might have a policy for whose name to put in the “To:” line and whose name to put in the “Cc:” line. I spent little time thinking about this until we formed WordRake Holdings LLC and our head of technology, who had worked for many companies, including Microsoft, politely explained that the only name we put on the “To:” line is the person responsible for acting on our email. If we put someone on our “Cc:” line, we’re telling them, “No need to respond; just wanted you to know.” This might seem elementary, but many of us violate “To:/Cc:” protocol, confusing people and making them waste time thinking about something they don’t need to – when they could be online searching Anthropologie for a strapless dress.
People seem shocked when they hear that what happens in “Bcc:” does not necessarily stay in “Bcc:” We think that if we secretly inform someone not on our “To:” or “Cc:” lists, no one on the other lists will ever know. But a “Bcc:” recipient can and sometimes will hit “Reply All,” letting everyone know the names of all those secret people. The only protection against this is waterboarding.
Another reason I will never send another “Bcc:.” is this typical conversation between engineers in a chat room:
“Yes [you can break into the “Bcc:” list], if you know somebody with access to the Exchange server the email was originally sent from.”
“Any administrator who provides that information should be disciplined . . . and the administrator might be breaching the ‘Data Protection Act.’”
“You know that, I know that, but how many system administrators actually know it or care about it . . . Sadly a lot of them will do whatever they’re asked.”
It’s not easy to break into the “Bcc:” list; not everyone knows how to do it; not everyone is in a position to authorize it; not everyone knows how to do it, is in a position to authorize it, and wants to do it. But it’s like Benjamin Franklin told Humphrey Bogart in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, “Three men can keep a secret, if two are dead.”
This is the easiest one, On the “Subject:” line, arrange your words in descending order, general to specific, in a fair summary of the content, so you and your recipients can file and retrieve it easily:
Subject: WordRake – Outlook Launch – Press Release - Copy