Email Forwarding - A rant to my friends

Today I read yet another rant about receiving forwarded emails. He yells at everyone for using CC (or To:) instead of BCC. I totally agree about using BCC.

A lot of people already know this, but bare with me: Carbon Copy (CC) is a feature of the Email protocol to send a copy of the original message (that will be sent to the person in the To: field) to the secondary recipients in the CC field (although, for many users, simply adding the addresses to the To: does the job). Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) does exactly the same thing with one key difference: People that receive a "BCCed" email don't know who else got the same email, they only know who was the original receiver in the To: field.

Let's say you have a friend who is not that computer savy (probably at all, but anyway). When he receives an email and instantly thinks he wants to send it to his 27638746 contacts he needs to do 3 simple steps:

  1. Reach 200 pixels above to click the forward button
  2. Select the contacts
  3. Click the send button

It is that simple. Seconds later you receive the email that has your address among other 1000 addresses in the To: field (or CC). What's your reaction? Yelling at him. You go to his house and try to teach him how to forward emails using BCC which is (using hotmail):

  1. Click the button "Forward"
  2. Select the contacts you want to send them the email
  3. Click the "Show CC & BCC" - "Wait wait wait!" - "What?" - "What does CC and BCC mean?" - "Uhm... CC means Carbon Copy and BCC means Blind Carbon Copy." - "......." - "Let's say you send an email to five contacts." - "..." - "OK, let's say 200 in your case. With To: or CC, all your contacts will see the other email addresses you send, while, with BCC, everybody thinks you send the email only to them." - "Oh!" - "Shall we continue?" - "Please."
  4. Cut the contacts from the "To:" field and paste them to the "BCC:" field.
  5. Strip the actual message from the body (removing any other emails, advertisments etc.etc.) - "...." - "Well, if you don't, a lot of email clients include the information in the actual email and you beat the very purpose of using BCC" - "..." - "Just keep writing down what I'm saying!"
  6. Click the send button

So there you have it. You learned your friend how to send BCC emails. And what do you know?! Seconds later he now forwards emails the right way.........for about 2 emails...then you see the same pattern again and again. And you get mad.

And your thinking "Hmmmm... What didn't I do right? Let me revise:

In order for a person to forward an email with CC, he has 3 steps..

In order for a person to forward an email with BCC, he has...uhm... 6 steps.."

And that's enough thinking. You have come with the right conclusion. Clearly, it is his fault. "Come on man!", your thinking, "Is it THAT boring stripping the message? I thought that that is the fun part of forwarding an email........isn't it?". Thank god for the email clients making it easy for me to CC emails instead of BCC. How else would my spam business have gone so easy and well? I mean, after all, most of the times when I send an email I WANT the recipients to know who else got this email. I don't want to hide it! I don't keep secrets from my friends! Do you? How else will this email eventually reach a spammer and fetch the addresses? Oh, I forgot to mention that a couple of my friends are spammers. But that's irrelevant.

So the next time you get a forwarded email from a friend with your name along with others in the To: field, do the right thing and yell at him. After all, he is the one not spending the time to do the right thing.