Monday, February 21, 2005


When I send email to several people, I think hard about whom to address, whom to CC, and whether it would be useful to send blind copies as well.

  • If you CC somebody, they may not bother to read the email. Address it TO them to make it more likely they will read it.
  • If I need to keep someone in the loop, but I hope they WON’T bother to read the email, they get a CC.
  • If there are too many TOs and CCs, every addressee is less likely to read it.
    When I’m emailing someone at another company – strictly business – I tend to BCC all the internal addressees. It’s informative for my people to get a copy, but the primary addressee is likely to be uncomfortable responding to an email that apparently went to a lot of unknown people. (Here’s an example where all the other recipients are BCC: “Dear Viktor, the new driver you sent us for your product is causing my PC to “blue-screen.” What can I do about this?” The NEXT complaint to Viktor will have an impressive CC list.)
  • Other than the above case, I never BCC anyone at work unless I know them well.
  • Some people actually take offense at being on the CC list. If I can guess who they are, they go on the TO list.
  • If a work-related email goes to both a person and that person’s manager, I’ll have to decide which one belongs on the “CC” list. Depends on how technical the subject is.
  • And of course, if you need to mail a lot of people but you do not want to give them each others’ addresses, you can BCC all of them.

I think I'm making this too difficult. Oh well.

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