Remember the days when getting email was exciting. That little ping that sounded out from the pc would send you rushing to your inbox.
Sadly, not any more.
These days we're just all too busy and too important to be bothering with email and when your inbox suddenly floods then it means either you've messed up or someone else has.
Now I love public relations professionals but one of the key skills needed in this field (in fact just about any field that warrants an email account) is learning how to use that all important bcc box.
Journalists, bloggers and anyone else who receive press releases know that they're not special. We know that PR's aren't sat in their fancy offices individually sending us press releases with love. But we don't need to KNOW that the emails are going out en masse.
It's just like the Lee Ryan situation on Celebrity Big Brother. We all know he's a love rat, dipping it in whenever he can get the chance but Jasmine and Casey believe he's in love with them. Just them. And that's why the blind carbon copy box (aka BCC) is so important when you're sending out a mass email.
So let's rewind to yesterday when a PR for a new anonymity app emailed a press release about a new service that lets iPhone users give and receive opinions anonymously. The press release told us that we were to think of the new service as a "'hot or not' for stuff" and that the "anonymity means the public will judge the picture, not the user."
The release also went on to say:
"Anonymity is especially relevant at a time when internet companies are passing information to corporations, advertisers and governments. We live in a time when everything on the internet is social; users are forced to take ownership of everything that they post or engage with."
Which would have been spot on had the recipients of the email not had to scroll past 447 email addresses to actually read the release. That's right. The PR employed to promote to idea of anonymity had just shared her entire email list of tech journalists with everyone.
So here are my top tips for dealing with sending and receiving an email after a bcc faux pas...
Don't think you're being clever by proving a point: The irony of this email is plain for everyone to see and the cynical amongst us (OK ALL OF US) will instantly think - HOAX. When BuzzFeed emailed the company to ask if this was the case, Reid Jackson from the app's parent company emailed them to say "nothing spreads the desire for anonymity quite like showing why we all crave it sometimes." Let it be known that breaking data protection laws and sharing journalists email addresses is not the way forward. Despite us talking about you, we will still think you're utter fools!
Be wary of clicking reply all: As you can imagine there was a reply all frenzy between the recipients of the email. Some LOL'ing, some telling others to STOP clicking reply all and others who thought that it was the perfect opportunity to hunt down any items that they were seeking, for example one editor is in desperate need of an upright piano for his daughter. But in general, unless you're hilarious (or you REALLY need a piano) stop yourself from clicking that reply all button. You may feel good for half a second but as your inbox buckles under the weight of all those other reply all's, you'll soon regret it.
If you're going to resend the press release, this time remembering to use your bcc function then at least mention and perhaps say sorry for your previous faux pas. If you want us to love you again that is.
If you are forced to communicate with other people, always have an emergency bottle of wine at home. We all make mistakes and providing it was a mistake then the best thing to do is apologise, move on and crack open your emergency bottle of wine as soon as you get home to make it all disappear.
Now for the love of god does anyone know where we can get an upright piano? The recipient is willing to collect!