by Daniel Deane
E-mailing a person for the first time may be a little bit tricky. When posting to anyone for the first time, there are several things to keep in mind. One should keep in mind that one may be violating a person's carefully guarded privacy or violating a personal or company or other rule someone thought up. Be polite. And be prepared for a wide range of welcomes from friendly to outright rude and crude. On the other hand you may be extending a hand of friendship which will develop into a relationship for life.
In general, there are three types of e-mail communities as defined by economic pressure. In these groups there are three types of individuals:
- those who like to talk via email and will accept almost anything at least once and enjoy the internet for personal reasons;
- those who are online for business; entertainment is the least of what they want to get online;
- those who may be a member online purely for their own reasons and do not want to be bothered by anyone except the privileged few they let in.
The Economic Groups are:
- Those who pay for their privileges by the minute. These individuals often do not like the monetary loss of unsolicited posts. They may be short tempered when they receive an post that they did not ask for. Be patient with these individuals. Their privacy is important to them and junk mail is just that to them: JUNK! Do not return their flames. (Except for maybe an apology for bothering them and to tell them you will not bother them again.)
- Those who pay for a flat rate for either unlimited access or a set rate for a set amount of time on the internet before minute or hourly charges begin to accrue. These folks also value their privacy. However, I have noted that these individuals are often community minded and are a bit more tolerant than those who are pressured by their pocketbooks every time they go online.
- The last group are those who have their access provided to them. They may be students on a college or university campus or they may be professionals. Additionally, a few non-profit groups provide internet access to their members. Those who are students are using the internet for two reasons: for obtaining information useful to them in school or in life in general, and for entertainment. Those who are professionals whose job provides this perk have obvious reasons for having e-mail addresses. E-mail addresses are just good business sense in this day and age. Again professionals, while not on the job, may have the freedom to pursue personal interests on the internet. (Of course they would never be guilty of pursuing entertainment on the internet on *company* time.) ;-)
Three Experience Types of Internet Participants
- The newbie who knows just enough to get himself into trouble and must ask for help every turn. With the e-mail and Internet population doubling every few months there are lots of these individuals. Be patient and helpful to this individual. Remember you were one of these individuals yourself when you got started. Not everyone has the experience or superior intellect you have.
- The person who has been around the block a couple of months or years. You might even call this the intermediate experience group. These people may or may not know all the rules. However, they are just knowledgeable enough to tell you how badly you are acting on the Internet (flames) and "would you not inflict yourself on those of us who are here before you and know what we are doing". Be patient with these folks. They have lost sight of what community is.
- The person who has been around way before the internet got popular. There are two types of individuals here:
- The person who is tolerant of newcomers and understands that the Internet is changing and the rules are changing with it. Or rather the rules are being bent as far as they can go without breaking. Be patient with this individual. He is the teacher and benefactor of us all.
- Mr. Internet Bear or self appointed internet police. He considers himself as the guardian of the old line. Upset him and you may have a e-mail robot sitting on your email address until your ISP kicks you off. What he has done should be illegal and we all wish him ill. He is willing to shut down the entire ISP to get at you and if this does not work, shutdown the entire token ring that your ISP is on. (This has happened on the Atlanta token ring section.) Many an ISP, internet business and private individuals pray that MR. Internet Bear who has his own system is bombed out of existence, that every computer system he buys has unrecoverable system errors installed into the hardware and that he is caught and sued for his and his progenies income for eternity.
- In case you wonder if Mr. Bear is real, ask a long term spammer or your ISP. They have probably ran afoul of one or two in a year's time. The damage he can do runs into the millions of dollars in a few days. That is why his robot is called a BOMB.
One last word on first time e-mail. Be polite. Be willing to keep records and promptly delete from your recipient list those who want off.
It is generally agreed that Spam is unwanted email. Many believe that Spammers are abusers of the email system.
Spam is an ugly word that is overused and means any unsolicited e-mail, one e-mail or dozens or hundreds of thousands. Many individuals do not mind a little of it. They are afraid of missing an opportunity to meet a new friend or of finding a really useful service or business opportunity. Other individuals make studies of what is said on these e-mails. One can really get an education on ad writing from these e-mails. Still others even sign up for the mailing lists or participate in an activity which makes them a target for unsolicited mails. Still other individuals do "Unsolicited Bulk E-mail" and know the cost is to receive "Unsolicited Bulk E-mail" in return. It is one cost of doing "Unsolicited Bulk E-mail."
If you participate in discussion lists which allow advertising, or you maintain "Bulk E-mailing Lists", please don't make a pest of yourself. If your name is seen too often, then some people will NEVER join you. They will send unsubscribe requests. If you are on a discussion list, people may unsubscribe or just ignore you. Make yourself a pest and you will defeat yourself. This is called loss of mindshare.
Another reason some people are tolerant of unsolicited e-mail is that all it takes is a couple of keystrokes and offending mail is gone. If they do not like what the person is sending (such as, solicitation to visit or receive pornography) They are willing to write a polite email and ask to be deleted from their mailing list. I have never been refused. Perhaps Mr. Internet BEAR has a use after all.
One type of Bulk E-mail is acceptable for all occasions. This Bulk E-mail is one where a person has asked to be placed on the list. It is this type of e-mail whether it be a newsletter like this one or a discussion list that has always been accepted on the internet.
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Presented by Daniel Deane/[email protected]/P.O.Box 3548, Chattanooga TN 37404 /Publisher of Daniel's InfoZene, a general interest/public service ezine Internet tips, Humor, Recipes, PSAs, disability advocacy, and more. copyright 1997 Daniel Deane
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