Email Etiquette Part 3: Dealing with those Cc’s and Bcc’s

Three-email-principlesWe send and receive emails all day, but does everyone really know about some of the extra options for sending out emails?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple years, I would hope that it’s safe to assume that you understand what should go in the “To:” and “Subject:” fields, so I won’t dig too deep into either of those options.

In this post, I’m going to address how to properly use the Cc and Bcc fields. Many people are aware of these fields, but they are often misused. Although email etiquette doesn’t seem like a big deal, I think it’s important to address some of these problems for our everyday sanity as well as security issues that can potentially arise.

“Cc:” field or “Carbon Copy”

This is used to include other people in an email even if the email is not necessarily intended for them specifically.

For example, if I send an email saying, “Hey we miss you!” to a far away friend, I could CC all of my other friends who might also feel the same way so that they are included and are aware that I sent the email.

Our far away friend would be able to see that I Cc’d all of our friends and would have the option of replying to only me or choosing “reply all”, which would be delivered to my inbox as well as everyone else Cc’d.

It is also worth mentioning that it is proper etiquette for the recipient to “reply all” so that all people CC’d also receive their reply. This keeps everyone updated at all times and cuts out steps of having to resend emails to people who didn’t receive it.

“Bcc:” field or “Blind Carbon Copy”

This is very similar to Cc except for one major difference: the recipient would not be able to see the other friends included in the email.

This is much more secretive because there is no way for the recipient of this email to see who all was included. Because they have no way of knowing who all was included in the email, they are unable to choose the “reply all” option and can only reply to the sender.

Bcc definitely has its perks, but should be used tastefully and not to “spy” on people. It can, however, be used for security purposes when forwarding messages. Instead of Cc’ing your whole address book when you forward a message, you can put them in the Bcc field to keep their email addresses private from spammers. For more information on this, visit here.

Hopefully this has been fairly helpful to those of you who were wondering about some of the finer details of how sending emails work. Cheers!


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