When to Skip Replying All and Other Annoying Broadcasts
Group texting sucks; long live group texting!
Apple, for all their infinite genius, misses a mark in this area. If only we could exit a group text the way you can in Facebook Messenger. But that also goes for group emails, doesn’t it? Unless someone deletes you from their own “reply all” or you’re the asshole who asks to be removed, you’re stuck. And same on Twitter, basically. Once you get looped into a dialog there, you may find yourself roped into a Twitter battle all day long. (That happened to me once – I never said a thing but because someone early on wanted me to get into it, I was trapped all day with notifications.)
We are all pretty happy that Facebook also allows you to turn off notifications on individual posts now, too, right? That was great. Who are the people in your life that tag everybody they know in a post? Tell them to cut that out.
Digital messaging broadcasts. It’s a tricky area. When to do it? When to skip it?
Professional circumstances aside, because every work culture is it’s own beast, here are a few suggestions on when to skip the “reply all,”, sourced from me, my friends, colleagues — and frankly, COMMON SENSE.
When someone sends an email to invite 30 people to something and does not BCC everyone, it’s probably so that 30 people don’t turn around and ask “who else is invited?” But it’s not an invitation for everyone to reply all and RSVP unless they are sharing pertinent information and even then, you should second guess yourself. Is it really pertinent? For example, are you replying all to also offer a few more a ride to the destination? Well, that might be okay but perhaps the smarter alternative is to see who in your neighborhood was invited and privately offer them rides if they are attending. Are you replying all to offer to bring the wine or dessert so no one else does? Well, that might be okay — but then you are opening the floodgates for everyone to do the same thing….
Did someone email you on blind copy where a lot of people are on “cc,” as well? Do not reply all! You were blind copied for a reason!!! Don’t do it. Slap your own hand.
If you are replying all with one or two words, it’s pretty likely you shouldn’t. No one wants to see your “me too!”, “thanks!”, or “you’re welcome.” Inside jokes are off the table, too.
Now me? I love a good witty gif-reply-all. But I know they annoy some of you. I get it.
When someone introduces you to someone else over email, practice this reply: “Thanks so much, friend! I’m going to move you to BCC now so you don’t keep getting our emails on this thread.” Now the friend knows you replied to their contact and can step away at peace.
For all it’s wonder and convenience, folding technology into our lives certainly creates more and more rules to follow. And who knows what will trend tomorrow? And next year? Maybe in 2018, replying all will be “the thing.” But for now, tell me: What is your “reply all” nightmare?